Warship’s departure delayed by ‘minor fault’

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HMS St Albans’ departure to the Gulf was postponed today after engineers discovered a mechanical fault with the warship.

The Type 23 frigate was due to pass the Round Tower at 10am today to embark on a six-month deployment in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf. But now sailors will have to wait until at least Thursday to set off on their latest tour of duty.

A Royal Navy spokeswoman said the delay has been caused by a ‘minor fault’ with the warship’s stabilisers – which control how much the ship rolls from side to side at sea.

‘It’s only a minor defect. It should be fixed by Thursday and she’ll be ready to go,’ said the spokeswoman.

The navy will make a further announcement about St Albans’ time of departure in due course.

The 4,900-tonne frigate is due to take over duties from Portsmouth-based HMS Iron Duke, which is set to return home next month after six months away.

Since St Albans’ return from the Middle East in August last year, her crew have been training off the coast of Plymouth and Scotland to prepare for their next deployment.

Commander Tom Sharpe, a 39-year-old father-of-three from Gosport, will be in charge of a ship’s company of around 200.

He said they will be working ‘round the clock’ to patrol busy shipping lanes and provide security for the region in partnership with other coalition forces.

The ship’s programme of work includes counter-terrorism, anti-piracy operations and exercises and operations with regional naval forces.