Providing security at sea

The UK has a responsibility to its citizens and its allies to endeavour to safeguard the high seas. This is why the Royal Navy protects home and international waters – making sure the global trade that Britain and the world depend on can proceed without a hitch.


Explore the way we provide security at sea.

Maintaining capability

Protecting the 17.3 billion tonnes of goods imported into the UK every year, and the 600,000+ UK jobs  that directly depend on maritime trade necessitates that the Royal Navy is a formidable presence on the global stage.

Working in partnership

Keeping the high seas safe to be lawfully used is a full-time international effort. The Royal Navy works with NATO and other allied nations on security operations and exercises all around the world, including the Gulf and off the Horn of Africa.

Combating piracy, terrorism, trafficking & illicit trade

90% of world trade is transported by sea. This inevitably attracts groups seeking to illegally profit. As the UK is an island nation, and dependent on sea trade, the Royal Navy is committed to protecting maritime commerce. 

World class people

Preserving the freedom of the high seas demands a force of highly trained experts. Our personnel are leaders in their field – and up to date on the latest methods and technologies needed to keep us effective.

Global presence

Safeguarding the trade routes that our nation relies on, requires us to operate all over the world. This is why the Royal Navy’s forces deploy right across the globe – and maintain a strong presence and links with dependent territories.

operations Operation Kipion

Units of the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary have been on patrol in the Gulf since October 1980, after the Iran/Iraq conflict of that year, and more recently operations have extended further south with the increase in piracy off the Somalia coast. Having warships present in the region is one of the main tools the UK has to show our commitment to this part of the world.

operations Maritime security

British ships and units are committed to operations around the world. Operations focus on maritime security, reassurance and wider regional engagement to build regional maritime capability.

operations Standing NATO Maritime Group 2

Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 is a multinational, integrated maritime force - made up of vessels from various allied nations, training and operating together as a single team - that is permanently available to NATO to perform a wide range of tasks, from participating in exercises to crisis response and real world operational missions.

operations Kipion MCMV

In support of wider British efforts in the region, minehunters are providing the capability to conduct route survey, sea-bed clearance, and mine clearance operations all over the Gulf. The operation also aims to provide a visible naval presence in a region where stability and good relations with local nations is vital. Much of the UK’s oil and gas, as well as other products, come from the Gulf region and as such these efforts are of vital importance to our economy and lifestyle.

operations Combined Task Force 150

CTF 150 operates in an area that covers the Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea, Red Sea, and the Northern Indian Ocean. The Force was created to counter terrorism, prevent smuggling, create a lawful maritime order and conduct maritime security operations.

operations Surveying the Ocean

Hydrographic ships work in a variety of sea areas to gather and process hydrographic and oceanographic data for planning and operational purposes. In addition this data will be dispatched to the UK Hydrographic Office for analysis and inclusion into navigational charts and other navigational safety publications. The ships also closely monitor other vessels whilst deployed and deterring any potential illegal activity.

operations Operation Herrick

Operation Herrick is the code-name for the work UK Forces have been doing in Afghanistan since 2002, working to bring about stability in the country and maintain the forces of law and order, pushing back the Taliban and preventing them from using the country as a base for terrorism.

operations Atlantic Patrol Tasking (South)

Ships and units on Atlantic Patrol Tasking (South) provide ongoing protection and reassurance to British interests in the South Atlantic, maintaining the continuous Royal Naval presence in the Atlantic.

operations Rim of the Pacific

Twenty-two nations, 49 surface ships, 6 submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating. Units from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the People’s Republic of China, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States are involved.

operations NATO Mine Counter-Measures Force

The RN has always supplied an MCMV to one of the two NATO Mine Counter-Measures Squadrons. These are six-month deployments as part of the NATO Standing MCM Groups and will generally be around the coasts of Northern Europe or the Mediterranean depending upon the squadron in which the RN ship is working.

Protecting our economy

Maritime trade is the lifeblood of the UK economy and industry. 95% of Britain’s economic activity depends on the oceans. And every year Britain imports goods worth £524 billion.The UK is so dependent on the seas for its prosperity, that without the Royal Navy acting as deterrent the effect on the economy would be overwhelming.