HMS Argyll Returns To Plymouth After Middle East Mission

The Royal Navy's longest-serving frigate has returned home after spending months helping to protect merchant vessels in the Gulf.

HMS Argyll has returned to the UK after almost six months of operations in the Gulf.

The Royal Navy frigate marked her return to Plymouth with an 11-gun salute from her ceremonial cannon as she passed beneath the Royal Citadel.

During her time on deployment, HMS Argyll saw nearly six million tonnes of shipping safely through key sea lanes in the Middle East.

The ship is the longest-serving frigate in the fleet, with 29 years' service, and has been operating in Bahrain alongside her sister ship HMS Montrose.

HMS Argyll had been largely focused on maritime security for merchant vessels in the region as part of the International Maritime Security Construct, ensuring the safe passage of ships into and out of the Gulf.

She has also taken part in exercises with the Saudi, Pakistani and Japanese navies.

Commander Andrew Ainsley, the vessel's Commanding Officer, thanked the crew for "a job well done".

"Today, after nearly 200 days away from Plymouth [HMS Argyll] returns home to our families at the end of global operations," he said. 

The ship arrived back in Plymouth on Wednesday morning.

"We return to some weather similar to how we left but a UK that's coming to terms with COVID, but for us, in our box upon the sea, we've been delivering global influence for a global Britain as part of the Royal Navy's permanent presence in the Gulf. 

"Today's an emotional day for all of us not just because we've finished operations, but we’ve come back to our loved ones, back here in Plymouth, and we'll disperse around the UK and spend some well deserved rest and reflection with them and the end of a job well done."

Cover image: HMS Argyll arrives in Plymouth (Picture: Royal Navy).