THE Royal Navy has dispatched a Portsmouth vessel to the Falklands, offering protection to the region.
Offshore patrol vessel HMS Forth set sail from Portsmouth Naval Base for the south Atlantic.
As a British overseas territory, residents of the Falklands look to the armed forces for protection.
HMS Forth is also the first of five new state-of-the-art second generation River class OPVs to be deployed in a forward presence role.
Commander Bob Laverty said: ‘Today is a momentous day for the Batch Two River class programme as we deploy HMS Forth to the south Atlantic.
‘I am extremely proud of my ship's company for their efforts over the past two years in getting us to this point and grateful to the entire enterprise for their support and perseverance throughout our generation as a first of class warship.’
HMS Forth will be deployed overseas for the next few years, acting as support for operational tasking.
While the ship will remain on station the crew have adopted three watch manning, which allows personnel to rotate through periods deployed with the ship, followed by periods at home with their families.
Commander of the Fishery Protection Squadron, Commander Simon Pressdee, said: ‘HMS Forth continues to pave the way for the class.
‘Her ship’s company has worked very hard since she left the Clyde to prepare for this day and should be rightly very proud to be the first Batch Two OPV to deploy operationally overseas.
‘The ability to deploy and dynamically task these ships while also maintaining a vital work/life balance is what proves so popular with both those who task the ships, and those who serve on them.
‘We fully expect HMS Forth to spend most of her time at sea on operations with only a fraction of the time spent in maintenance, while her crew will rotate to and from the UK.’
The Fishery Protection Squadron consists of a mix of Batch One and Two River class vessels.
The remaining £116m warships, HMS Trent, Tamar and Spey, will be in service by the end of 2021.