HMS Duncan has deployed to the Mediterranean to take over as flagship of a major NATO task group.
The destroyer left Portsmouth Naval Base this morning to resume the role after a three-month stint in charge last year.
HMS Duncan will conduct defence engagement activities alongside the UK’s NATO partners and will lead Standing NATO Maritime Group 2.
HMS Duncan will return to her home port later this year. She takes with her an embarked Wildcat helicopter based at RNAS Yeovilton.
Last year, HMS Duncan visited the Ukrainian port of Odessa in the first visit by a Royal Navy ship in eight years.
The Type 45 destroyer was leading NATO’s Standing Maritime Naval Group 2 (SNMG2), ‘providing reassurance and deterrence in the Black Sea’, as well as commanding NATO’s counter migration activity in the Aegean.
The visit followed an announcement by the Defence Secretary that the UK is expanding its training of the Ukrainian Armed Forces with new military courses on countering threats from snipers, armoured vehicles and mortars.
After that, HMS Duncan headed a NATO task force through one of the largest naval exercises staged in the Black Sea. Breeze 17 was described as the testing naval forces from more than half a dozen nations and their ability to safeguard Black Sea shores and shipping.
According to the Royal Navy:
“Demonstrations culminated with Royal Marines and their Bulgarian counterparts taking down ‘terrorists’ who’d seized a ship in Varna. Elsewhere sailors had to deal with a major fire ravaging a merchantman in port, the illegal trafficking of migrants, and a large-scale rescue of people in distress at sea.
The exercise also allowed Portsmouth-based Duncan to work alongside an old friend, as the Romanian involvement was led by Regele Ferdinand, also known as the former Type 22 frigate HMS Coventry.”