UPDATE: HMS St Albans leaves Portsmouth for the Middle East after engineering delay

HMS St Albans, a Type 23 Portsmouth-based Frigate'  PHOTO: LA(Phot) Guy Pool
HMS St Albans, a Type 23 Portsmouth-based Frigate' PHOTO: LA(Phot) Guy Pool

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The Portsmouth-based warship HMS St Albans has set sail for the Middle East to begin a nine-month deployment.

Type 23 Frigate will continue the work that her sister ship, HMS Richmond, carried out earlier this year as part of the Royal Navy’s long term presence East of Suez.

She was due to leave at 11am but that has been put back to because of engineering problems. She eventually left the city at 3.30pm.

HMS St Albans’ task is to police the seas and promote UK interests in the region by acting as a deterrent to illegal activity, safeguarding allied and merchant shipping and help ensure that global trade can proceed without a hitch.

In preparation for deployment the ship’s company has undertaken two fast-paced training periods with Flag Officer Sea Training, the Royal Navy training organisation.

HMS St Albans commanding officer, Commander Richard Hutchings, said: ‘St Albans has been tested and proven fully fit for operational missions wherever and whenever the government needs.

‘It’s a lengthy and highly complex process to prepare for a deployment like this but the ship’s company is absolutely ready to go and excited about the opportunities and challenges ahead.’

He added: ‘We have fitted much of the latest technology, including a class-leading warfare combination in our Merlin Mk2 helicopter and remotely-piloted ScanEagle surveillance aircraft, whilst our collective Royal Navy and Royal Marines boarding team enables a more traditional form of maritime security and policing. With just 225 people on board, the ship offers a remarkable range of options to support UK interests around the world.’

Engineering Technician Sam Calligan, 19, said: ‘I’m really looking forward to the deployment. It will be my first trip away with the navy and I can’t wait to actually do my job away from home.’