HMS Montrose arrives in Bahrain

HMS Montrose Begins Permanent Deployment In Bahrain

HMS Montrose arrives in Bahrain

The vessel will be based in the Middle East for three years (Picture: Royal Navy).

HMS Montrose has arrived in Bahrain ready to begin a three-year mission stationed in the country.

The Type 23 frigate left the UK six months ago with pit stops in locations including Sri Lanka, Japan and Easter Island during its journey to the Middle East.

Montrose will be permanently based in a new support facility in the Gulf for three years as part of the UK’s commitment to the security of the Middle East.

The vessel will also support counter-terror and counter-smuggling operations in the Indian Ocean, near where HMS Dragon made a record eight drug busts recently.

The crew who have sailed to Bahrain will soon return to the UK, with personnel from Plymouth taking their place and allowing for Montrose to undergo maintenance.

HMS Montrose Receives Ceremonial Greeting On Entering New Zealand
Montrose received a ceremonial greeting in New Zealand (Picture: Royal New Zealand Navy).

"Today marks a significant milestone for us," said Commander Conor O’Neill, Montrose’s Commanding Officer.

"I am immensely proud of all that we have achieved during our voyage to Bahrain.

"We now have the time to recuperate; making use of the excellent new facilities of the United Kingdom Naval Support Facility before handing over to our opposite numbers."

Montrose Easter Island visit
Easter Island is 2,500 miles off the west coast of South America (Picture: Royal Navy).

The senior Royal Navy commander in the Middle East theatre is Commodore Steve Dainton, UK Maritime Component Commander.

He directs naval operations from his headquarters in Bahrain and said: "The Royal Navy is here to help protect the UK’s overseas interests and promote regional security and resilience.

"HMS Montrose will fulfil a vital role along with our mine countermeasure vessels and the support ship Royal Fleet Auxiliary Cardigan Bay.

"It is clear we will have significantly enhanced the scope and capacity of our operations throughout the region."

This week, HMS Montrose was welcomed by a military band as she pulled into the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo. 

The Type 23 frigate stopped off in Brunei for fuel and supplies before sailing 3,000 miles to Sri Lanka.

A military escort and marching band waited on the jetty at Colombo's civilian port.

HMS Montrose arriving in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo 090419 CREDIT ROYAL NAVY
HMS Montrose arriving in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo (Picture: Royal Navy).

Earlier during their journey from the UK to Bahrain, the Montrose crew were the only British representatives at the Chilean Navy's 200th birthday celebrations and hosted a reception featuring the Princess Royal and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence.

Montrose was joined by former Royal Navy vessels, HMS Grafton, Sheffield and Marlborough, now serving under the Chilean flag, at the event.

Personnel from the Type 23 frigate then spent Christmas at Easter Island, before arriving in New Zealand in January.

HMS Montrose arriving in Tokyo last month (Picture: Royal Navy).
HMS Montrose arriving in Tokyo last month (Picture: Royal Navy).

Last month the Plymouth-based frigate visited Tokyo, spending six days at Harumi Wharf, after working with the US Navy on maritime security operations in the South China Sea.

She became the fourth Royal Navy ship to visit the Japanese capital in the last 12 months after HMS Sutherland, HMS Albion and HMS Argyll.