The Type 23 frigate – nicknamed The Black Duke and the only ship to have its official name written in black across her hull – is slowly approaching Portsmouth Harbour for the final time this morning.
HMS Monmouth had been laid up in Devonport since 2019, and was officially withdrawn from Royal Navy service in June, with her crew disembarking in Plymouth last month.
She is now set to be pulled into the harbour before her fate is decided, according to Mike Critchley, a former lieutenant commander and defence publisher from Gosport.
He said: ‘Her arrival means there is now one less operational frigate in the already much reduced fleet.
‘It has been reported that the Greek Navy may be interested in purchasing her - but a final tow to a Turkish scrap yard seems far more likely.
‘Whilst a decision is made the ship is most likely to remain in Portsmouth for quite a while, and will doubtless be a very useful source of spare parts to keep the navy’s other 12 frigates operational as some serve worldwide.
‘As these ships get older – and already well past their original out of service date – the requirement for spares and TLC becomes more urgent and frequently unavailable elsewhere. (It’s) a process known in the navy as stores robbing as items of equipment are removed from a redundant ship to keep an active ship operational.
‘It becomes very frequent as ships age.’
During her service, HMS Monmouth helped to provide humanitarian aid during the Sierra Leone Civil War and hunted pirates off the Somalian coast.