Having just returned from Christmas leave, I am acutely aware of the sacrifices that our families are also making and I am grateful for their support as we embark on this period away from home

Commander Andrew Canale, Commanding Officer of HMS Sutherland

HMS Sutherland’s departure was witnessed by families who braved freezing temperatures to see the ship as she passed through Plymouth Sound.  Rear Admiral Simon Williams (Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Personnel)) and Commodore Robert Bellfield Royal Navy (Commander Devonport Flotilla) visited the ship before she sailed to meet members of the crew and wish them well.

Sub-Lieutenant David Ferguson carries out navigation and watch-keeping on the ship’s bridge and is on his first deployment.  He said:  “I am really looking forward to the opportunities ahead. The chance to visit places that I have never been to is one of the main reasons why I joined the Royal Navy.”

Engineering Technician Josh Reed has been serving on board HMS Sutherland for three years.

He said: “I was originally going to leave the ship on the day before deployment but I requested to stay on board for longer. I’m really pleased that I am now staying to the end of the trip and I’m looking forward to visiting places that I haven’t been to before.” 

The deployment aims to strengthen already strong defence ties and demonstrating the UK’s commitment to the peace and prosperity of the region while visiting the Indian Ocean and Pacific.

The presence of the ship proves the UK’s global reach with world-wide interests and world-leading defence capability.

HMS Sutherland, a Type 23 frigate, will take part in maritime security patrols aimed at protecting vital trade routes as part of a long-standing 30-nation maritime force.

The Asia Pacific region is increasingly important to the UK for prosperity with more than one third of UK trade by value travels from the Far East and through various vulnerable maritime choke points.

HMS Sutherland emerged from a large refit in 2015 and has spent extended periods over the last two years conducting duties while on 24hour readiness to respond to a wide range of national tasking. 

The ship has also conducted extensive sea training to prepare her crew for deployment. 2017 was an especially eventful year for HMS Sutherland, escorting the new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time and conducting trials for the Royal Navy’s new Tide class tankers.

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