The UK Royal Navy Type 23 Duke class frigate HMS Kent (F78) returned home to Portsmouth on Dec. 13 after completing a four-month mission in the Gulf region.
The spell in the Middle East was partially spent patrolling the Indian Ocean in support of maritime security/ counter-terrorism operations. But the bulk of her time was spent assisting merchant shipping through the Strait of Hormuz – gateway to/exit from the Gulf – to prevent any untoward interference to vessels.
Kent carried out 28 passages of the narrow waters, accompanying nearly two million tonnes of merchant traffic, including tankers, container ships and LNG carriers, as part of a “concerted effort by the Royal Navy to ensure the safe passage of shipping and free flow of trade in the region”.
The frigate was assisted by her sister ship HMS Montrose (F236) and Type 45 Daring-class air-defence destroyers HMS Defender (D36) – both still on operations in the Middle East – and HMS Duncan (D37), which returned to Portsmouth in October.
Kent has been away from Portsmouth for 275 days – after completing training in Plymouth she was thrust into exercises off Scotland, and two months in the Baltic supporting the Royal Navy’s principal amphibious deployment of the year, before then being dispatched to the Gulf in early August.