HMS Defender Returns To Portsmouth After Seven-Month Deployment

The Royal Navy's HMS Defender has returned to Portsmouth after a seven-month deployment that included accompanying British-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz.

The ship's homecoming, usually attended by hundreds of families and friends, was cancelled over the coronavirus outbreak.

However, 39 relatives of the crew got to experience life at sea as they joined the vessel for the final leg of the journey from Gibraltar to the UK. 

Commanding Officer, Commander Richard Hewitt, said: "While disappointing not to see our families on the jetty as we return to Portsmouth, we understand the situation and we are extremely grateful for all the support our families have provided while we have been deployed."

The crew of 209 Flight from 815 Naval Air Squadron, which was embarked on HMS Defender, touched down at RNAS Yeovilton on Thursday.

During the deployment, the Type 45 destroyer escorted 38 merchant ships - carrying 1.6 million tonnes of cargo - through the Strait of Hormuz.

The ship's homecoming was cancelled over COVID-19 (Picture: Royal Navy).
The ship's homecoming was cancelled over COVID-19 (Picture: Royal Navy).

HMS Defender was originally deployed to the Far East but she was diverted to the Gulf following a period of heightened tensions in the region.

It came after a British-flagged oil tanker was seized in the Strait of Hormuz by Iranian forces. 

The Royal Navy said HMS Defender also formed part of the Combined Task Force 150 which is designed to tackle terrorist and smuggling activities in the Indian Ocean.

The ship and her crew made two drugs bust, worth a combined £4.3 million.

During the months away, the Navy said the ship's 270-strong company ate a massive 18 tonnes of meat, 26 tonnes of potatoes and 30,000 eggs.

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