FOR the last six months, her ship’s company have been keeping up the fight against piracy in the world’s vital shipping lanes.
Now HMS Westminster has handed over the baton to her sister ship and is steaming for home in Portsmouth.
Sailors have started their journey back to the city after meeting up with HMS Somerset and handing over their stores and information.
The two ships met in Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates to officially hand over their duties and bid farewell.
One of HMS Westminster’s most junior members, Able Seaman (Communication and Information Systems Specialist) Nancy McGowan, 19, has only been on board the ship for around a month.
She said: ‘Although I have only been on board the ship for a short period of time, it is staggering the amount of hard work the ship’s company have put in to be where they are now.
‘The new way of life for me on board, having joined straight from basic training, was a shock to the system.
‘But equally the short time I have had on board in terms of putting my training to good use and meeting new friends has been second to none.’
The Royal Navy maintains a presence in the Indian Ocean and Gulf to protect the movements of sea traffic through some of the world’s most vital shipping lanes.
Petty Officer (Marine Engineer) Jason Yates oversees hazardous fuelling operations, and is on his last deployment with the Royal Navy.
He said: ‘During the course of this deployment we have had many challenges thrown at the marine engineering department.
‘Due to our steely determination and “can-do” attitude, we haven’t missed a day on task due to the challenges we have faced.
‘Being my last deployment with the Royal Navy, I am very proud to have served in HMS Westminster alongside some great people.’
HMS Westminster will arrive back in Portsmouth this week for sailors on board to be reunited with their families.
Captain Hugh Beard, the commanding officer of HMS Westminster, said: ‘This deployment has been a huge success in all the tasks we have undertaken throughout the region, from keeping the sea lanes safe, to etching the smiles on schoolchildren in Tanzania.
‘My ship’s company can be extremely proud of what they have achieved.’