HMS Echo has returned to the United Kingdom after a 668 day deployment.
According to the Royal Navy, Echo’s 668-day tour of duty began supporting the international effort to prevent illegal migrant trafficking in the central Med, joined NATO’s efforts to clamp down on terrorist activity in the same region (Operation Sea Guardian) and used her array of sensors to gather key military data to support naval operations.
The Royal Navy said in a release:
“She was the first foreign warship to visit Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s illegal seizure of her naval vessels and personnel last November. Reassurance and freedom of navigation activity in the Black Sea also included visits to allies in Romania and Georgia as well as military data gathering operations off the Crimean peninsula.
The ship’s company, who have swapped around every few weeks to sustain Echo on her lengthy deployment, have taken the opportunity to pay tribute to the UK’s fallen in distant locations, visiting Commonwealth War Graves in Odessa and Batumi, Georgia, and joined Ukrainians at their liberation day celebrations in May. All of which added 58,000 miles to the Echo ‘odometer’. She visited one port for every 1,000 miles sailed… spread across 15 countries. And the rotation system used by crew has meant that her sailors have generally spent nine in every 12 months at sea.”
The final month of her deployment was spent around Gibraltar, surveying territorial waters.