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Westminster Sees Out Winter With A Ranging Patrol

20 April 2021
HMS Westminster returned home yesterday following a highly successful 15-week deployment protecting the UK’s interests in home waters, North Atlantic and Northern Europe.

Rear Admiral Simon Asquith OBE, the Royal Navy’s Commander Operations, embarked during the morning to welcome the frigate back to her base port at the conclusion of this patrol. 

It took her from the Baltic to the Channel Islands, including monitoring a passing Russian submarine. Deployment also took in various trials, training and exercises, including working with the RAF’s new P8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft. 

The deployment was done under strict infection control measures, the second time Westminster has undertaken a deployment like this since the pandemic began.

 
I am extremely proud of all of my sailors who have been in Covid isolation onboard, away from their families since 2 January.

HMS Westminster’s Commanding Officer, Commander Louise Ray

HMS Westminster’s Commanding Officer, Commander Louise Ray, said: “I am extremely proud of all of my sailors who have been in covid isolation onboard, away from their families since 2 January. 

“It always astounds me how much they are prepared to give up but still keep driving forward to achieve the goals set to them by the Government.”
The ship’s company have now spent nine months of the previous 12 in a social bubble to reduce the risks of Covid-19 and maintain operational effectiveness. 
This deployment also included a first for the Royal Navy; a refuelling at sea for a warship from a Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker for which both ships were commanded by women. 

Cdr Ray said: “The Royal Navy’s ability to replenish at sea while underway towards their objective remains a key enabler to our ability to protect the UK’s interests around the world. 

“It was only on the eve of the event that the coincidence of both ships being led by female officers became apparent, and it seems even more fitting that this milestone coincidentally took place on International Women’s Day.”  

After completing the refuelling, the two vessels continued separately into the Baltic to rendezvous with HMS Lancaster for multi-national exercises. 
Throughout deployment, Westminster encountered seriously heavy seas, twice needing to take shelter before continuing patrols.
The ship’s company did make the most of the time together and prepared for the next deployment later in the year by qualifying two new flight deck officers, a new captain of the turret and captain of the gun bay. 

A spell of maintenance now follows for Westminster, with a return to operations later in the year.

 

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