HMS Chiddingfold and Penzance have arrived in the Gulf after a 6,000-mile trip from the UK.
The Royal Navy say here that the two vessels, that are replacing HMS Blyth and Ledbury, were at sea for two-and-a-half months as they sailed through the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal, the Bab El Mandeb Strait and the Strait of Hormuz before arriving in Bahrain, home for the pair for the next three years.
“Chiddingfold’s journey from Portsmouth was immediately stormy as the Hunt-class minehunter encountered foul weather in the Bay of Biscay, facing five-metre waves and wind speeds of 50 knots. Her 50-strong Crew 3 from MCM2 were relieved to finally see the Rock of Gibraltar, first stop on the journey to the Gulf, and time to meet up with Sandown-class HMS Penzance, who had sailed from her home on the Clyde via Falmouth.
The pair continued through the Med, stopping off at Sicily, Crete and Cyprus. Covid restrictions meant many of the pair’s port visits were restricted to the jetty. Once in the eastern Med, Chiddingfold supported NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian, which involves allied ships patrolling the Mediterranean.”
The Royal Navy say that Chiddingfold and Penzance will now be forward deployed in Bahrain for three years, operating under the new MCM dual-crew manning model. During her time there, she will be involved in multi-national exercises, mine hunting, maritime security and wider defence engagement.