Frigate HMS Montrose resumes long-term Gulf security mission

HMS Montrose is ready once more for the challenge of keeping Middle Eastern sea lanes open, now through the height of summer.

The crew of the frigate have undergone intensive assessment to resume patrols, just months after they were carrying out the same mission in these same waters.

The frigate is geared up for four demanding months keeping Middle Eastern sea lanes open – ­and keeping illegal activity in check – in the latest chapter of her extended tour of duty in the region.

Normally based in Plymouth, the Type 23 frigate is deployed to Bahrain – the hub of the Royal Navy’s operations east of Suez – for three years as part of the new Forward Presence programme which ensures vessels spend more time at sea in an operational theatre – and their crews enjoy more settled, plan-able lives.

Every four months the ship’s company of more than 200 sailors, Royal Marines and Wildcat helicopter crew change entirely – in this case Port Crew, under Commander Ollie Hucker, moved on board Montrose for the third time.

Straight back into it, the ship sailed and the Port team were assessed by a specialist team from the UK to ensure they were prepared for the unique demands of Gulf operations.

The ship herself was given an ‘MOT and service’ to ensure her machinery and systems are ready for summer in the Middle East when temperatures can hit 50°C on the upper deck, even more in non-air-conditioned parts of Montrose, such as her hangar and engine spaces.

The ship performs a wide-ranging mission from working with the UK’s partners and Allies in the Gulf to provide reassurance to merchant shipping arriving or departing the region and conducting counter-terrorism/smuggling/piracy patrols in the broader waters of the Indian Ocean.

We are safe, we have been trained and assured to a high standard and we are ready to conduct operations. After a comprehensive handover, Port crew are once again re-established back onboard; HMS Montrose, alongside our sister ship HMS Argyll remain at the tip of the spear in delivering operations in the broader Middle East.

Commander Hucker

During their four months in theatre, the Port Crew plus friends and family back home have set themselves the ambitious goal of running or walking around the world - 40,075km (24,901miles), the equivalent of 160,300 laps of the frigate’s upper deck (approximately 250 metres).

“Being away from our families during these challenging times, we wanted to do something to support those back home, so we came up with an idea to raise some money for some charities close to our hearts,” explained organiser Lieutenant Commander Barry Crosswood, the ship’s Principal Warfare Officer.

“Being able to involve the wider Montrose family in the initiative is really important to us – it’s about looking after everyone’s welfare, staying healthy and fighting the pandemic together. We can run laps around coronavirus.”

Proceeds will be shared among the mental health charity MIND, the Royal Navy Benevolent Trust and Royal Navy Royal Marines Charity. You can show your support via: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/HMSMONTROSE