HMS Edinburgh is leaving her Portsmouth base today for a seven-month deployment patrolling the British South Atlantic Islands, including the Falklands and South Georgia.
As she journeys south, the Type 42 destroyer will call at the Cape Verde Islands and a variety of countries off the west coast of Africa before arriving in the Falklands later this summer.
She will be conducting maritime security patrols - policing and protecting islanders living in the British Overseas Territories.
Over the last few months the ship’s company have been put through their paces with operational sea training from January to April 2011, and the ship has gone through a pre-deployment maintenance period to ensure she is ready to deploy.
HMS Edinburgh also put her Sea Dart missile system to the test and fired several missiles on the Royal Navy’s Hebrides firing range.
Her Commanding Officer, Commander Paul Russell, said:
Since emerging from refit last year, through trials and operational training, Edinburgh’s team has been focused on this deployment to the South Atlantic, a region of high profile, political and joint military interest where the Royal Navy has had a continuous and significant effect over many years.
I am delighted with my ship’s company’s response to recent training and am hugely grateful for the first rate engineering support provided by Portsmouth Naval Base to ensure we sail in a safe and sustainable material state.
Our families deserve a very special mention and thanks too as they have been the very cornerstone of strength for us all throughout a hugely demanding period of regeneration.
By sheer distance from the UK, and in the face of a harsh South Atlantic winter, the deployment will present real operational challenges for us all, but this will be balanced by the visits to some wonderfully diverse countries and the opportunity for the Royal Navy to demonstrate its impressive global reach and versatility.
On completion of her tasking in the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, HMS Edinburgh will carry out a number of high profile regional engagement visits in South America, the Caribbean and the USA.