RFA Cardigan Bay returns to Portsmouth

Winchester jail put in special measures

RFA Cardigan Bay returned to Portsmouth today after a three year deployment to the Persian Gulf in support of coalition operations and the Iraqi Navy.

The Landing Ship Dock has spent the last three years providing support and training facilities to Iraqi, US and UK units stationed in the Northern Gulf.

Highlights of her deployment have included Iraqi Marines and Naval Personnel learning about sea survival, working with US patrol boat teams and regular VIP visits.

The commanding officer, Captain Paul Minter said: 'RFA Cardigan Bay has truly secured her place in the history of Operation Telic and the history of the fledgling Iraqi Navy.

'It has been a demanding but rewarding role to provide support to such an important task, and has demonstrated the versatility of these capable ships.'

The ship, which for the majority of the deployment has been the largest coalition unit in the area, had a fully operational crew of up to 121 comprising personnel from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Royal Navy, Royal Naval Reserve and the Royal Logistic Corps. The ship is also capable of carrying up to 600 troops if required.

The ship has rotational crews and sailors spend four to six months on the ship at a time.

During the course of the deployment the ship has travelled more than 71,500 nautical miles, undertaken 24 patrols into the Northern Arabian Gulf and those serving on board have earned hundreds of Iraq Medals.