Navy

Minehunter HMS Middleton Leaves Portsmouth For Middle East Deployment

HMS Middleton is expected to remain deployed for at least the next two years on Operation Kipion. 

Mine countermeasures vessel HMS Middleton has left her home base of Portsmouth to undertake operations in the Gulf and wider Middle East.

Despite COVID-19 restrictions preventing a traditional departure ceremony, Commodore Tim Neild, Commander Surface Flotilla, addressed the crew before they departed. 

Family and friends of the departing crew also gathered in Southsea, Hampshire, to wave off their loved ones.

Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Neil Skinner, said it had "been an extremely long journey to reach this point".

He praised his crew, saying: "I could not be more proud of the team."

The Royal Navy vessel has recently undergone a refit and now has a new, 'state-of-the-art' mine-hunting command system.

She is the first of the Hunt-class to be fitted with the technology, known as ORCA, which improves her ability to locate and destroy mines.

Friends and family gathered to wave off personnel on board HMS Middleton (Picture: Royal Navy).

Crews from the Second Mine Countermeasures Squadron will operate the ship in a 'four months on, four months off' model.

The ship is expected to remain deployed for at least the next two years on Operation Kipion and will be joined for the journey to the Gulf by HMS Bangor, which has also been fitted with ORCA.

They will take over from HMS Brocklesby and HMS Shoreham and join up with HMS Chiddingfold and HMS Penzance – who arrived in the Gulf last year.

Operation Kipion, according to the Navy, is the name for the UK's effort to maintain peace and stability in the Gulf region, promoting peace and stability, as well as ensuring the safe flow of oil and trade.

Cover image: HMS Middleton departing Portsmouth and heading for the Gulf (Picture: Royal Navy).