As a former Submarine Commanding Officer, I am a poacher-turned-gamekeeper and I have really enjoyed my experience with the capabilities of Westminster to try to defeat the Italian submarine Pelosi.

Captain Hugh Beard RN, Commanding Officer of HMS Westminster

HMS Westminster is due to leave the Cougar force before the end of their deployment and take up station in the Gulf as one of the Royal Navy’s long-standing commitments to the region.

The Commanding Officer of HMS Westminster, Captain Hugh Beard, said:

“The ship’s company of Westminster have been working hard as part of our Cougar 13 deployment and also in preparation for our future mission.

“As a former Submarine Commanding Officer, I am a poacher-turned-gamekeeper and I have really enjoyed my experience with the capabilities of Westminster to try to defeat the Italian submarine Pelosi.”

The ships of Cougar 13 will operate in the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Persian Gulf, and Horn of Africa.

This annual deployment involves exercising with partner nations, and will show the UK Armed Forces’ capacity to project an effective maritime component anywhere in the world as part of the Royal Navy’s Response Force Task Group, commanded by Commodore Paddy McAlpine from the Fleet Flagship HMS Bulwark.

The RFTG is the United Kingdom’s high readiness maritime force, made up of ships, submarines, aircraft and a landing force of Royal Marines, at five days notice to act in response to any contingency tasking including humanitarian disaster relief or international military intervention.

As well as HMS Westminster there are three other Royal Navy ships – HMS Bulwark, HMS Illustrious and HMS Montrose taking part as supported by five Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels.