Type 23 Frigate HMS Sutherland conducted a ‘Sovereignty Patrol’ as part of her entry into Gibraltar.
Originally designed for anti-submarine warfare in the North Atlantic, the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates have proven their versatility peace-keeping and maritime security operations. Thirteen Type 23 frigates remain in service with the Royal Navy, with three vessels having been sold to Chile and handed over to the Chilean Navy.
— HMS SUTHERLAND (@HMSSutherland) January 13, 2018
Minister for the Armed Forces, Mark Lancaster, said:
“Gibraltar is of great importance to the UK, our Armed Forces and our allies. It has provided vital assistance to operations and exercises over the years, perhaps best demonstrated by the recent support to the UK’s hurricane relief effort in the Caribbean.
We are absolutely steadfast in our support of Gibraltar, its people and its economy and will fully involve Gibraltar as we prepare to exit the European Union.”
This comes as HMS Sutherland sailed on a deployment to Australia, the Far East and the Gulf region. In a ‘period of ongoing tension in the Korean peninsula’, the Type 23 Frigate will be available to ‘work closely with our regional partners, including US, Japanese and South Korean, and participate in joint training and exercises’ say the MoD.
Speaking during a visit to the Devonport Naval Base, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“Our already strong defence ties with allies in the Asia Pacific area will be deepened further by this deployment. At a time when North Korea’s illegal weapons programme is causing global concern, the deployment of these two Royal Navy ships is a clear demonstration of the UK’s commitment to the peace and prosperity of the region.”
Commander Andrew Canale, the ship’s captain, said:
“This is an opportunity for HMS Sutherland to demonstrate the global reach of the Royal Navy as well as the UK’s commitment to building relationships and maintaining stability in the Asia-Pacific region. A deployment of this nature means that we must be prepared to respond to any eventuality.
I am very proud of the Ship’s Company and the many support organisations who have assisted HMS Sutherland to deploy two months ahead of her planned departure date. Having just returned from Christmas leave, I am acutely aware of the sacrifices that our families are also making and I am grateful for their support as we embark on this period away from home.”