HMS Argyll homeward bound after completing Middle East mission

Homeward bound after five months and a half months on constant operations in the punishing Gulf heat is HMS Argyll, mission almost complete.

Nearly six million tonnes of shipping – 68 merchant vessels carrying goods, oil and natural gas – has been safely monitored through key sea lanes in the Middle East since the Plymouth-based ship arrived in the region in April.

 

Argyll – Britain’s longest-serving frigate with 29 years in the Fleet – has been working side-by-side with her sister ship HMS Montrose, based long-term in Bahrain, and the UK’s allies and partners in the region to reassure merchant shipping in potentially dangerous waters.

 

Much of her work during 164 days East of Suez has been performed for the International Maritime Security Construct, the relatively-new partnership of nations committed to ensuring the safe passage of ships into and out of the Gulf, currently commanded by the Royal Navy’s Commodore Rob Bellfield.

 

In addition, Argyll has conducted combined exercises with the Saudi, Pakistani and Japanese Navies.

 

Working with the latter provided the 200 sailors and Royal Marines aboard the British warship with one of the most memorable sights of her deployment.

 

After joint gunnery and manoeuvres in the Gulf of Aden with the destroyer JS Onami, the Japanese bade farewell to their allies.

It’s been a challenging deployment, especially leaving my baby boy at three months old. Covid has meant that we were not able to get ashore much – but we have become a really close team and made the most of it.

Leading Engineering Technician Ben Harrington