HMS Ledbury on mine-sweeping mission in Med

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THE first Royal Navy warship to leave Portsmouth in 2012 will depart later today.

HMS Ledbury is heading to the Mediterranean to begin a six-month minesweeping mission in the region.

She was due to weigh anchor at Portsmouth Naval Base at 3pm, passing families at the Round Tower shortly afterwards.

She will link up with minesweepers from eight other Nato nations which provide a permanent mine counter-measures force in the Mediterranean.

A huge number of Second World War sea mines and bombs still lie undetected in the region.

A Royal Navy spokesman said: ‘During the deployment, Ledbury will be a continuous overt presence throughout the whole Mediterranean.

‘Her schedule includes port visits to several European and African nations including Italy, Spain, Greece and Morocco.’

The warship could be sent further afield if the need arises.