HMS Diamond has joined Australian ship HMAS Melbourne as she takes her place in the international naval effort to counter criminal activity on the seas east of Suez.
The Type 45 destroyer has relieved her sister ship HMS Daring to become the latest Royal Navy warship serving with the 26-nation Combined Maritime Forces, sailing in tandem with Australia’s HMAS Melbourne.
The Bahrain-based force directs the work of three distinct task groups of around six warships each, operating from the head of the Gulf to the Red Sea in the west, the shores of India and Pakistan in the east, and the Seychelles in the south - an area of some 2.5 million square miles (6.5 million square kilometres), or more than eight times the size of the North Sea.
The ships allocated to these three task forces - 150 (counter-terrorism/maritime security), 151 (counter-piracy), and 152 (maritime security in the Gulf) - typically operate as ‘lone wolves’, hundreds of miles away from other vessels assigned to the same force.
The rare link-up between Diamond and the Adelaide Class Melbourne allowed for a series of drills, manoeuvres and the obligatory ‘photo exercise’ for the record.
Diamond’s Commanding Officer, Commander Ian Clarke, said:
We have a vital role to play in keeping these sea lanes safe for international trade, not just for the UK but for the good of the wider global economy.
It is a massive and important task and we are looking forward to working with colleagues from 26 navies including Australia, Pakistan, South Korea and Thailand as well as our US and European partners.
His ship and the 200 sailors and the Lynx helicopter crew and Royal Marines on board will continue to patrol these waters until their expected return home in late December.