SAILORS who have spent the last six months on a vital mission removing chemical weapons from Syria are now heading for home.
Portsmouth-based HMS Diamond has been working as part of a Danish-led task group protecting merchant vessels carrying the dangerous cargo out of the Middle East.
She is due to return home on Friday after escorting the last consignment of weapons being removed from the conflict-torn country.
Off the coast of Cyprus, the Type 45 destroyer met up with sister ship HMS Defender while she stocked up on supplies ready for her deployment to the Gulf.
The Red Arrows also saluted the ship with a fly-past.
Commander Phil Nash, the commanding officer of HMS Defender, said: ‘It’s good to see two Type 45 destroyers alongside each other deployed on operations. As HMS Diamond nears the end of her deployment I wish the ship and her sailors safe passage for their return to the UK.’
Diamond and Defender exchanged items before parting ways.
Leading Seaman Nathan Powell, 34, from Gosport, is one of the sailors on board Diamond working on the chemicals’ removal.
He said: ‘It is a very uncertain and different deployment to others I have been on.
‘We are out here serving a purpose though and assisting in transporting chemical weapons to make Syria a safer place.’