The Minister of State for the Armed Forces , Andrew Robathan, and the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology , Philip Dunne, visited personnel in Afghanistan to witness first-hand the progress being made in mentoring Afghan forces to take on their own security challenges. During their visit, they also met with International Security Assistance Force ( ISAF ) and Afghan military commanders as well as Afghanistan’s Ministers for Defence and Interior in the capital Kabul
Among the ship’s company of HMS Monmouth is a detachment of Royal Marines , vital for HMS Monmouth’s tasking at sea. One of the major roles of the Marines is conducting boarding missions against suspected pirates and smugglers. To hone these skills they used their time on land to visit a specialist ‘Ship-in-a-Box’ facility owned by the US Coast Guard in Bahrain
Marines train to tackle pirates
While their families celebrate Christmas at home, the crew of the Plymouth-based Type 23 frigate, will be spending Christmas engaged in countering piracy, smuggling and similar illegal activity. The ship, also known as the Black Duke after its traitor namesake, is part of a coalition naval force policing the Gulf and keeping crucial trade routes safe for the UK’s imports and exports. However, in spite of the busy programme, members of the crew have found some time to prepare for the festivities with both the chaplain and the chefs limbering-up for the seasonal cheer and religious service.
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Royal Navy warship spends Christmas on operations
The Plymouth frigate HMS Monmouth joined forces with a United States warship and air power for an exercise involving the military and merchant shipping to show how the two can work together to ensure safe passage on the high seas. HMS Monmouth, known as the Black Duke, was given the task of providing close-in protection to two huge tankers – including the Bahamian-registered Arcturus Voyager (333 metres long and displacing 160,000 tonnes) which travels at only 5 knots/6 miles per hour (9.26 kilometres per hour). The UK warship was supported by US Navy and coast guard patrol ships, a supply vessel and the air-defence destroyer USS Winston S Churchill – with a Royal Navy navigator aboard
Portsmouth mine warfare experts have now taken over from their Faslane counterparts in charge of the Royal Navy’s key mine warfare force in the Gulf.
Royal Navy’s Gulf-based minehunter force changes command