Royal Navy destroyer HMS Diamond sets sails from Portsmouth to join Nato fleet in the Mediterranean

HUNDREDS of sailors on a Royal Navy destroyer have set sail to be on standby in the Mediterranean following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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HMS Diamond left Portsmouth Naval Base as part of the UK’s response to support Nato countries in eastern Europe.

The £1bn Type 45 destroyer will join offshore patrol vessel HMS Trent in the eastern Mediterranean with four additional RAF Typhoon jets also being deployed to Cyprus to take part in Nato patrols in eastern Europe.

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Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth South MP, has paid tribute to the city’s team of Royal Navy sailors and said: ‘The thoughts and best wishes of all of us in Portsmouth are with the crews of HMS Diamond and HMS Trent, who will soon be joining a Nato fleet in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Royal Navy type 45 Destroyer HMS Diamond leaves Portsmouth harbour. Picture date: Friday February 25, 2022.The Royal Navy type 45 Destroyer HMS Diamond leaves Portsmouth harbour. Picture date: Friday February 25, 2022.
The Royal Navy type 45 Destroyer HMS Diamond leaves Portsmouth harbour. Picture date: Friday February 25, 2022.

‘At this testing time we must continue to demonstrate beyond all doubt that the UK can fulfil its obligations to Nato and our allies and partners in Europe.’

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Hundreds of troops have been deployed to Estonia and Poland.

Diamond has been deployed by the UK government to be on standby in the Mediterranean in case it is required as part of a wider Nato force.

The Royal Navy type 45 Destroyer HMS Diamond leaves Portsmouth harbour. Picture date: Friday February 25, 2022.The Royal Navy type 45 Destroyer HMS Diamond leaves Portsmouth harbour. Picture date: Friday February 25, 2022.
The Royal Navy type 45 Destroyer HMS Diamond leaves Portsmouth harbour. Picture date: Friday February 25, 2022.
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It had originally been set to leave on February 17 but its departure was initially delayed by Storm Eunice with further delays caused by the warship requiring ‘minor repairs’.

The problems meant that all of the navy’s £6bn fleet of Type 45s were alongside at the same time, with four vessels in Portsmouth and two in Birkenhead.

The defence select committee warned in December 2021 that the ‘low availability of the UK’s Type 45 destroyers and recognised issues in their propulsion systems are a major cause for concern’.

HMS Diamond leaving Portsmouth 25th February 2022 taken by Nick SilkHMS Diamond leaving Portsmouth 25th February 2022 taken by Nick Silk
HMS Diamond leaving Portsmouth 25th February 2022 taken by Nick Silk

Later today will see Diamond’s sister ship HMS Defender setting sail for a short period at sea prior to returning to base ahead of deployment to a major sea exercise off Norway which will also involve aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales.

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Families of Diamond’s crew waved them off from the harbour walls, with children heard cheering on their loved ones as Diamond sailed out of Portsmouth.

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