Royal Navy sees HMS Lancaster commander praises crew for 'great start' to three-year mission safeguarding the Gulf

AS she begins a three-year mission away from her home port of Portsmouth, HMS Lancaster’s crew have been praised for their ‘great start’ to defending the Gulf region.
HMS Lancaster escorting USS Chinook and Monsoon.HMS Lancaster escorting USS Chinook and Monsoon.
HMS Lancaster escorting USS Chinook and Monsoon.

HMS Lancaster left Portsmouth in August to travel to the Gulf, relieving HMS Montrose of her duties.

The Type 23 frigate has been working with two task forces in the Middle East to ensure lawful seafarers enjoy safe passage – and clamp down on illicit activities such as drugs smuggling.

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Her patrols have seen her intercept one suspect dhow – a type of boat often used by drug smugglers – but a concerted search by her Royal Marines and sailors resulted in no contraband found.

The frigate’s commanding officer, Commander Paul Irving, says despite the lack of a haul, HMS Lancaster nevertheless ‘made a visible contribution to the coalition effort to prevent smuggling throughout the region’ through her presence and actions.

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He continued: ‘We’ve made a great start to our first deployment in Lancaster. Over the coming months we will continue getting to grips with our new ship, ensuring that the ship stands ready to reassure and protect our allies and partners, and to deter illicit activity at sea throughout the region.’

Commander Irving and his 200-strong crew previously operated HMS Montrose in the same waters and took charge of HMS Lancaster in December, relieving the crew who brought the frigate to the Gulf.

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A crew spends four months on operations, while a second crew back in the UK enjoys leave and undertakes training.

HMS Montrose carried out five drugs raids last year, with her last seizing a cargo of crystal meth worth more than £15.5 million.