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Portland back home after autumn of operations

HMS Portland was welcomed home by families and loved ones after operations in the North Atlantic and in UK waters. Picture: Mne Joe Burt
17 November 2023
Warship HMS Portland was welcomed home today by families and loved ones after months of operations in the North Atlantic and around UK waters.

The Type 23 frigate left her home port of Devonport in August and has spent time shadowing Russian vessels and also making visits to a variety of cities from Belfast to Nova Scotia.

She also briefly joined HMS Queen Elizabeth and the UK Carrier Strike Group for training and exercises with NATO.

Today, she was waved and cheered back into port by the crew's loved ones, with some holding banners, flags and welcome home signs.

Portland has had a busy schedule since leaving Plymouth in early August where she was tasked with tracking Russian warships and submarines.

She joined offshore patrol vessel HMS Tyne and the RAF’s P8 Poseidon aircraft to monitor Russian vessels, including corvettes Boikiy and Grad, cruiser Marshal Ustinov, the Udaloy-class destroyer Severomorsk and others.

The frigate then briefly met up with Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker RFA Tideforce for a replenishment at sea – a challenging feat of close manoeuvres and precise sailing to transfer fuel, stores and other supplies to allow Portland to stay on operations for longer.

The support of friends and family is what allows sailors to do what they do

Commander Ed Moss-Ward

The ship visited Belfast, in Northern Ireland towards the end of the summer before departing her traditional operating areas in the North Atlantic to transit to Canada in support of the Royal Canadian Navy’s inaugural International Fleet Week alongside in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

While there, HMS Portland opened the gangway to the public, including to youngsters from Techsploration, which aims to increase the number of young women working in science, engineering, trade and technology-related occupations.

They were given a tour of the ship, while a series of mutual visits by sailors from the navies represented in Halifax also took place. The week closed with ships saluting the Commander of the Canadian Navy, Vice Admiral Angus Topshee.

Back across the North Atlantic and Portland took her place alongside the UK Carrier Strike Group. She acted as an escort to HMS Queen Elizabeth beside Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond. She supported the launching of a Training Variant Torpedo from Merlin Mk2 helicopters embarked on the aircraft carrier.

Now back in the UK, HMS Portland has returned to Devonport.

Portland’s Commanding Officer, Commander Ed Moss-Ward said: “I am delighted that the ship has had the opportunity for a homecoming event following its deployment.

“The support of friends and family is what allows sailors to do what they do, and it is important that we recognise their contribution to the ship and the Royal Navy alongside the efforts of the ship’s company.”

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