HMS Diamond now in Royal Navy ownership

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The Royal Navy's latest warship has been formally handed over to the Ministry of Defence in Portsmouth.

HMS Diamond sailed in to Portsmouth Naval Base early this morning.

A 45-minute ceremony held at the base from 2pm saw the Type 45's builders BAE Systems Surface Ships officially hand over the vessel to the Royal Navy.

The ship's company and BAE employees stood to attention on the flight deck to salute the White Ensign being raised as Angus Holt, UK Programmes Director at BAE, transferred responsibility for the ship to Commodore Steve Brunton, the MoD's head of destroyers.

Cdre Brunton said: 'It is a huge privilege to accept this magnificent ship on behalf of the MoD, hot on the heels of HMS Daring's acceptance into service with the Navy.'

Diamond is the third of six 1bn destroyers built for the navy by BAE. HMS Daring, which officially entered service on July 31, and HMS Dauntless, which is undergoing sea trials, have already been delivered to Portsmouth.

The navy's latest Type 45 quietly sailed in to Portsmouth Harbour at 7am today with its Commanding Officer, Commander Ian Clarke at the helm.

He said: 'It is an enormous responsibility to command a ship with Diamond's cutting edge. The Ship performed magnificently during its early sea trials.

'I am supported by a truly dedicated team and together we are keen to progress to the next stage, transforming Diamond into an effective front-line warship, ready for operations anywhere in the world.'

Diamond set sail from the Clyde, Scotland, on Saturday, bidding farewell to the construction shed for the last time and to the thousands of BAE workers who built her.

Mr Holt said: 'Diamond is a formidable ship and everyone involved can take great pride in the part they have played in her design and build. We are now moving to the next stage in our journey, as we use expertise developed to date to deliver effective long-term in-service support to Diamond and her sister ships to ensure they are available whenever and wherever the Royal Navy needs them.'

Diamond will now begin sea trials with the navy. Her in-service date has been set as July 2011 when, all being well, she will be officially commissioned in to the Royal Navy fleet.

She is set to go out on her first deployment in 2012.