HMS Diamond set for first deployment

MISSION READY HMS Diamond. Picture: Steve Reid (121903-785)
MISSION READY HMS Diamond. Picture: Steve Reid (121903-785)
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HMS Diamond will leave Portsmouth for her first operational deployment tomorrow.

The new Type 45 destroyer, which fired a spectacular 21-gun salute in Portsmouth Harbour to kick off the nation’s diamond jubilee celebrations on June 1, will leave for the Middle East at 1pm tomorrow.

Dozens of relatives and friends of her ship’s company will be at the Round Tower in Old Portsmouth to wave to their loved ones as the ship passes by at around 1.10pm.

The £1bn warship will spend six months carrying out maritime security patrols in the Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden and the Gulf, replacing her sister ship HMS Daring.

The navy said the ship will be acting as part of the Navy’s standing commitment in the Middle East, providing a range of capabilities from counter piracy to reassurance of the UK’s allies in the region.

Diamond’s mission comes at a tense time in international relations, which a row over Iran’s nuclear programme still ongoing and western condemnation of massacres in Syria.

The ship’s captain, Commander Ian Clarke said: ‘After completing months of rigorous training, topped off with the obvious pride in our participation in the national jubilee celebrations earlier this month, Diamond is ready set to sail on her first operational deployment.

‘We are ready for all of the likely scenarios we may encounter.’

Diamond in the third of six new Type 45 destroyers built for the Royal Navy.

The first Type 45, HMS Daring, has been east of Suez for the last six months and the second, HMS Dauntless, is currently on patrols in the South Atlantic to guard the Falkland Islands.

Defence secretary Philip Hammond said: ‘The deployment of HMS Diamond this week marks another watershed for the Type 45 programme, with three of these highly capable destroyers now on operations worldwide.

‘I wish her success in her Middle East deployment where the security of the international shipping lanes continues to be of the utmost importance.

‘The Royal Navy continues to make a significant contribution to protecting the freedom of the seas and Britain’s interests across the globe.’