HMS Montrose today became the first Royal Navy warship in more than 20 years to berth at the Devonport Navy base in Auckland.

The frigate has been helping in the fight against plastic in the Pacific Ocean.

“It’s really tragic as a mariner to see just how much plastic waste has washed up on these otherwise pristine beaches,” Commanding Officer Conor O’Neill told local media outlet 1 NEWS on arrival into Auckland.

“Some of it’s fishing gear… it’s more plastic barrels, plastic chairs, grills, netting – all sorts of plastic waste which has clearly been dumped in the ocean,” he said.

The vessel also recently made history as she conducted the first visit in over eighteen years to the British Overseas Territory, the Pitcairn Islands; with the last visit being made by HMS Sutherland and RFA Bayleaf in September 2000 as part of their world tour.

In the Royal Navy’s absence, periodic visits are paid by the French Navy’s Polynesian guardship as well as warships from New Zealand that patrol nearby waters to maintain a naval presence in these far flung British waters.

HMS Montrose is currently crossing the globe on her way to take up posting as the Royal Navy’s forward deployed frigate in the Persian Gulf. Since transiting the Panama Canal in November she has joined her Chilean sisters in a fleet review for the Chilean Navy’s bicentenary and spent Christmas at Easter Island.

She is expected to remain forward deployed for the next three years and, unless she also passes through the British Indian Ocean Territory on her way, this could be her last visit to British waters this decade.

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It would have been a sight if a RAN frigate had accompanied her on the visit. Not a common thing to see RN, RAN, and RNZN ships together flying their white ensigns…


Oscar Zulu

Highly unlikely. RNZN has just two frigates. Ta Kaha is in Canada for a refit through 2019 installing new radar, combat system and sea ceptor. Ta Mana just returned to NZ before Christmas after a 6 month deployment so she is likely to be dockside for a while.

captain P Wash.

It Is believed that most of the Worlds Oceans Plastics have come from just Ten of the Worlds Rivers, No prizes for Guessing Which ones.

Not visiting NZ for 20 years, Is either a sign of the lack of Ships or ermmm, hang on, can’t really think of another reason.


Lack of ships won’t have helped the situation but I suspect the truth is we didn’t see a point. With Brexit we are suddenly going to all these places praying they will be the solution to the mess we have created (no sign of it so far), combined with wanting to be seen as important on the world stage as the threat moves from Russia / Europe to China / se Asia.


HMS Marlborough was in NZ after GW2.
She went to Christchurch.
It was sheer Hell!
Especially as the Marlborough wine growing reason was so close…

Steve Taylor

I am surprised that the assemblage here haven’t thought about Type 31 for a possible Anzac replacement for the RNZN….

Evan P

They have, it is talked about a lot.

The Big Man

Was reading this and thought straight away that this is the reason why the Type 31e does actually have a place. With a £ billion Type 26?, over a £ billion Type 45 and over £3 billion QEC the need for a general purpose ship is clear, just not at the expense of the capability we need elsewhere.


@Steve Taylor
All NZ only needs are OPVs or at the very most a Corvette size craft – but a lot more of them, than their existing 2 frigates. Most of the requirements in their domain are for constabulary missions, maritime patrol and response duties.

It wouldn’t surprise me to see NZ take a close look at the new RAN Arafura class (Lürssen PV80) to replace the ANZAC frigates mid 2020’s.

David E Flandry

I disagree. They need a couple of real warships if they are going to be part of the 5-power arrangement. NZ already ditched its air force, no need to ditch the RNZN and turn it into a glorified coast guard.

captain P Wash.

Steve, They have but They’re worried about the time It would take to get them there, Heck, It’s taken nearly 20 years for a Type 23 to after all.

( Tongue In Cheek Comment, with Slightly Humorous intent, not to be confused with seriousness, just In case someone picks me up on It. )

Mr Bell

Captain when all you have left is 3 Men on a rowing boat for a navy it takes time Sir to row to the other side of the world. 20 years to be precise. Makes me worried as if we require said rowing boat back it will take them another 20 years for the return leg.

captain P Wash.

It’ll take longer than that, It’s all uphill.

captain P Wash.

Not on the way home !!!!

captain P Wash.

Rear Gunner, You need to hold the Map, Upside Down !!!!!

captain P Wash.

Are you Colour Blind ? Antarctica Is White whereas Australia Is Mainly Red White and Blue !!!!


This tour that HMS Montrose is doing is a good reason to join the RN. It’s about time there was a good reason. Travel is generally too easy nowadays so the idea of visiting genuinely remote places must appeal to the real adventurers amongst us.

Malcolm Palin

Definitely, problem is this is NOT COMMON. Those long deployments visiting far flung exotic locations are nothing like as frequent as the 60s, 70s, 80s.


This will be an interesting visit for the RNZN as HMS Montrose has Sea Ceptor which is currently being integrated onto their ANZAC frigate.


Has this ship bern supplied with sufficient anti plastic weaponry? Or is it a matter of fitted for. but not with such weaponry?

john melling

Anti-Plastic patrols needed……;P

Cam Hunter

What has Hms Montrose actually been doing to the plastic?, What did this fight against the plastic entail exactly? And if it’s just taking pictures then holy ship we have a winner!. Or maybe it just recon for plastic cleanup crews in future. I would gladly go help clean up that territory for a few months if the funding was there for it.

David E Flandry

They are working on a system to break down plastic into its constituent carbon atoms….no, no, wait that won’t help!

Nick Bowman

Montrose is countering the Chinese (plastic) threat. It’s asymmetric warfare…


“Maybe the ship could just GRIP the plastic in its claws and…”

I REALLY miss MP’s FC…



Been saving up for years to get the fuel to get their and back


there and back even


erm let me get this right – so- in aid of the environment the Uk has burnt tens of thousands of litres of fossil fuel ? Sounds a bit like when US/NATO spent tens of millions developing environmentally friendly nuclear missile fuel

Mr Bell

No Russ see my previous article they rowed there and will take another 20 years to row back. Rowing is very environmentally friendly.


When it says forward deployed for 3 years! Sorry if this is silly question. Does that mean it doesn’t come home for 3 years at all Or for temporary breaks back home