Frigate takes over piracy patrol duties

Pirate patrols are under way on Northumberland’s namesake warship.

HMS Northumberland has taken over ocean policing duties from her sister ship HIMS Somerset in the Indian Ocean and Gulf region.

The two Type 23 frigates met at sea to transfer essential stores and key information that will enable HMS Northumberland to continue the fight against piracy, narcotics smuggling and other criminal use of the high seas.

The ship’s company was told about operations and port visits, before bidding farewell to HMS Somerset, which has set off for its home base in Plymouth.

HMS Northumberland captain Commander Tristram Kirkwood said: “Today is the culmination of our preparations over the last 13 months and we are extremely proud as we formally take over duties for Operation Kipion from HMS Somerset.

“With all our training now complete, my ship’s company is ready and eager to get going on this demanding and essential mission, and they are all committed to it being a success.”

Commander of the UK Maritime Component Command (UKMCC) in Bahrain Keith Blount welcomed the ship.

He said: “I look forward to working with HMS Northumberland and to her continuing with the success that UKMCC has seen in the past months.”

The Royal Navy has maintained a presence in the Indian Ocean and Gulf for more than three decades.

Operations are designed to actively deter, disrupt and suppress unlawful use of the seas to protect global maritime security and ensure freedom of navigation. HMS Somerset has been on task in the region since January.