TERRORISTS attempting to sneak into Europe from the Mediterranean are to be hunted down by a Royal Navy warship as part of a new security operation,
HMS Duncan has teamed up with French and Spannish warships in the Med as part of a Nato-led crackdown on the region.
The £1bn warship left Cartagena, in Spain, to take part in Operation Sea Guardian – aimed at combating illegal activities and identifying and tackling security threats, including terrorism-related ones.
Portsmouth-based Duncan is working alongside Nato maritime patrol aircraft to monitor shipping, using her state-of-the-art sensors to scan a wide area.
During the operation, her boarding team has conducted ‘friendly visits’ to private and commercial vessels sailing a long way out to sea, to gather intelligence to build a detailed picture of life in the region – and use that to identify any possible security threats.
Embarked Royal Marines, from Juliet Company of 42 Commando, are trained to board and take control of boats as part of Duncan’s role in providing maritime security.
Lieutenant Max Chapman, from Juliet Company, said: ‘The Royal Marines boarding team offers the capability for the ship to conduct non-compliant boardings.
‘My team are highly trained in the dangerous operations to gain access to and take control of vessels attempting to avoid interdiction.
‘This is necessary to ensure the safe boardings of vessels suspected of conducting illegal smuggling or piracy operations.’
Nato’s Operation Sea Guardian works with the EU’s Operation Sophia in the areas of logistics and information sharing when operating in the central Mediterranean.
As part of her six-month deployment to the Mediterranean, HMS Duncan has worked with French and US aircraft carriers.
She has also worked alongside the Italian navy providing air defence to a major exercise and taken part in a Cypriot humanitarian exercise.