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HMS Richmond heads to Gulf to support Diamond and Lancaster safeguard shipping

9 January 2024
Royal Navy warship HMS Richmond is Gulf-bound to support the international effort protecting shipping.

The frigate will stand in for HMS Diamond and HMS Lancaster when either vessel needs to break off patrols for re-supply or maintenance.

Diamond is assigned to a newly-established international security mission, Operation Prosperity Guardian which was inaugurated last month following a series of drone and missile attacks threatening shipping passing through the Red Sea.

Meanwhile frigate HMS Lancaster is on a long-term mission in the Middle East, largely focused on the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea, hunting down drug smugglers and arms traffickers, while providing a reassurance presence to lawful seafarers.

In announcing Richmond’s deployment – the ship made a low-key departure from Plymouth on Friday, waved off by a small number of family and friends – Defence Secretary Grant Shapps told fellow MPs that there had been a fivefold increase in attacks against merchant shipping in the past month.

When she arrives in the region in a few weeks, Richmond will, Mr Shapps said “provide resilience to the UK’s presence in the Gulf”.

If necessary, the frigate will use her Sea Ceptor anti-missile system to protect herself and merchant vessels, as well as providing the wider assurance of the presence of a warship.

She heads for the Middle East having only returned to Devonport shortly before Christmas on another short-notice mission, helping to protect undersea infrastructure in the Baltic in support of regional allies.

“It’s a real challenge to quickly shift from the freezing temperatures of the Baltic to the warm waters of the Gulf. However, our ship and crew are well prepared for any eventuality; it’s a very dynamic, quickly- changing situation in the Red Sea at the moment but we are ready and looking forward to doing our bit,” said Lieutenant Jack Tarr, Richmond’s senior Officer of the Watch.

“By maintaining a visible and persistent presence in the region, the Royal Navy demonstrates our commitment to our friends and allies, and to protecting and maintaining the maritime security which is crucial to our national interests”

One of the most junior sailors onboard, 18-year-old comms and IT specialist Engineering Technician Jamie Symons, added: “This is my first Gulf deployment and I’m hugely looking forward to it. Everyone onboard is keen to get out there and make a difference. We’ve all seen what’s going on in the news and know that what we are going to do is important.

“This is why I joined the Navy and what I’ve been trained for, so it will be great to put everything I’ve learned so far into practice."

The frigate today arrived in Gibraltar to take on stores and fuel, whilst allowing her ship’s company time to undertake the famous run to the top of the Rock.
Richmond will then head through the Mediterranean Sea on the next leg of her voyage to the Gulf.

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