Crew are ready for action in Arabian Gulf

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THE Portsmouth-based warship HMS St Albans is due to set sail on Tuesday for a six-month operational deployment in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf.

The 4,900 tonne Type-23 frigate will be taking over duties from HMS Iron Duke and will be patrolling busy shipping lanes and providing security for the region alongside other coalition forces.

Her work will include counter-terrorism and anti-piracy operations, and exercises and operations with regional naval forces.

Since the ship’s return from the Middle East in August, the crew have been training off the coast of Plymouth and Scotland to prepare for this deployment.

Commander Tom Sharpe, the commanding officer, said: ‘HMS St Albans has spent the last five months preparing for this deployment and is now ready to deliver.

‘Influence will be our key output – whether that is patrolling the high seas to reassure or escort, actively looking for acts of smuggling or piracy, training or exercising with other navies or engaging in diplomatic efforts from alongside.’

Cdr Sharpe, a 39-year-old father-of-three from Gosport, will be in charge of a crew of around 200.

He said: ‘We even get an extra man due to the increase in laundry.

‘It’s 40C out there so it’s very hot.

‘They work round the clock.’

The navy says HMS Albans is due to sail out of Portsmouth harbour at approximately 10am on Tuesday.