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A Portsmouth-based Royal Navy frigate's heading out on it's first deployment since a major refit.
Type 23 frigate HMS Lancaster leaves the city on Tuesday 28th May for a six-month deployment to the North Atlantic and Caribbean.
The Atlantic Patrol will provide a challenging deployment for the ship, where she is scheduled to undertake a range of tasks across the region in support of British interests.
Her tasking will focus on the reassurance and security of the British Overseas territories, the provision of humanitarian aid and disaster relief during the core hurricane season and counter narcotic operations with partner nations.
During the six-month deployment Lancaster, affectionately nicknamed the Queen's Frigate after her sponsor Her Majesty the Queen, will visit all six of the British Overseas Territories in the region as well as numerous Commonwealth and Caribbean countries in order to conduct regional defence engagement. These visits will provide the opportunity to train with other navies as well as demonstrate the Royal Navy's continued commitment to the region.
In between visits, Lancaster will be conducting counter narcotics patrols in conjunction with the US Coast Guard but will remain at high readiness throughout the deployment to provide support and life-saving assistance in the wake of a hurricane or other natural disaster.
HMS Lancaster's Commanding Officer, Commander Steve Moorhouse, said:
"I am extremely proud of my ship's company who have worked tirelessly over the last 18 months regenerating Lancaster from refit and preparing her for this demanding deployment. After months of rigorous training, Lancaster is ready to take her place on the front line of naval operations.
"Although working primarily in the Caribbean region with a wide range of island partners and South and Central American nations, we will, in the best traditions of the Royal Navy, be ready to respond to whatever challenges may arise over the next six months."
Able Seaman Henry Bowyer said:
"I am looking forward to deployment, particularly because this is my first taste of overseas operations and a chance to do my job to its full potential.
"In addition I am looking forward to exploring new places and experiencing new cultures especially the ones in the sunshine!"
The deployment is Lancaster's first since an extensive refit in 2011/12. Upgrades included the latest version of the Seawolf missile defence system as well as a new flight deck.
Following this the ship undertook an extensive build-up to deployment, where she was thoroughly trained and assessed for every eventuality by the world's premier naval training organisation, Flag Officer Sea Training.
HMS Lancaster is the fourth of the Type 23 Frigates. She was launched by Her Majesty the Queen in May 1990 and commissioned two years later.
The current HMS Lancaster is the sixth to bear the name. All the ships in her class are named after Dukes, in her case, the Duke of Lancaster - better known as Her Majesty the Queen. She is her sponsor and takes a keen interest in her deeds around the globe. It is for this reason the ship is affectionatley known as The Queens Frigate.