HMS St Albans leaves Portsmouth for Gulf

LEAVING St Albans leaves Portsmouth Harbour.    Pictures: Sarah Standing (112043-9929)
LEAVING St Albans leaves Portsmouth Harbour. Pictures: Sarah Standing (112043-9929)

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WELL-WISHERS waved goodbye to a Royal Navy frigate as she left for a tour of the Gulf.

HMS St Albans left Portsmouth for a six-month tour yesterday.

The type 23 frigate will be used as a maritime security patrol, policing the waters.

She is due to take over duties in the Gulf and Indian Ocean from her Portsmouth-based sister ship HMS Iron Duke, which is due to return next month.

The deployment of the ship, which has 183 staff on board, was delayed after engineers discovered a defect with the ship’s stabilisers which prevent her from rolling in rough seas.

Joedy Pritchard and her two children Liam, nine, and Gabriella, two, joined a crowd of people at the Round Tower in Old Portsmouth to watch the ship leave.

Her husband Matthew, 31, is a Petty Officer on board.

‘It was upsetting,’ she said.

‘They were due to go last Tuesday and it was put back so it was hard with the waiting.

‘We knew he was going and it was just a case of knowing when.

‘But it was a good show to see them going out like that.

‘We had some other family members who had never seen it before, so that was good. As hard as it is, I am very proud to say that my husband is in the navy.’

St Albans spent almost seven months in the Middle East last year, returning home in August.

The crew have been training off the coast of Plymouth and Scotland in preparation.