Royal Navy frigate HMS Kent gets new captain after mission in the Gulf defending ships from Iran threat

A FRIGATE which spent months guarding British shipping in the Gulf amid simmering tensions with Iran has a new captain.

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 11:43 am
Updated Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 12:41 pm
HMs Kent's new captain, Commander Matt Sykes, meets his crew for the first time. Photo: Royal Navy

Commander Matt Sykes has been handed the reins to HMS Kent by the warship’s former chief, Commander Andy Brown.

Portsmouth-based Kent is one of the navy’s busiest frigates, having returned to Portsmouth last month following stints in the Gulf and Baltic.

Cdr Sykes said: ‘I am immensely privileged to join HMS Kent today as commanding officer, the job that I joined the Royal Navy to do. I feel very lucky to be taking command of the most operational frigate in the fleet.’

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Commander Andy Brown departs HMS Kent for the last time after two years in charge. Photo: Royal Navy

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In the past year, HMS Kent notched up 46,100 miles at sea – enough to circumnavigate the globe twice.

Kent spent four months stationed in the Gulf, working alongside £1bn destroyer, HMS Defender, and forward-deployed Type 23 frigate, HMS Montrose.

HMS Kent's former captain, Commander Andy Brown, right, welcomes the ship's new boss, Commander Matt Sykes, left. Photo: Royal Navy

The efforts of the crew were recognised last month by the Royal Navy, with the ship being awarded the frigate effectiveness trophy – an in-house navy award.

Cdr Andy Brown added he was proud of his two years in charge of the ship, which saw him lead the frigate back into service following a major refit.

In a parting message to his old crew, Cdr Brown praised them for their ‘hard work’ and ‘professionalism’ and said it had been a ‘true pleasure and honour’ to have been their captain.

New CO Cdr Sykes, whose career has seen him serving on Type 42 destroyer the former HMS Nottingham and aircraft carrier Ark Royal, said he was now looking forward to his new role.

He added: ‘I would like to thank the ship’s company, and their families and friends, for all their hard work over the last two years and look forward to serving alongside them throughout an exciting 2020 and 2021.’