The UK Royal Navy has deployed its Duke-class Type 23 frigate HMS Portland to support maritime crime fighting operations in the Middle East.

The nine-month deployment will be carried out as part of the Combined Maritime Forces, which is a 31-nation partnership tasked to improve the maritime security and ensure freedom of navigation for vessels in the region.

The ship’s crew, comprising of the Royal Marine and Royal Navy boarding teams, underwent training that covered weapons drills and enhanced search techniques, which will boost their efforts in preventing illegal trafficking. They were being trained by a specialist US Coast Guard team.

"We have spent the last six months preparing for this vital and complex mission."

HMS Portland commanding officer captain Paul Stroude said: “We have spent the last six months preparing for this vital and complex mission.

“Around 40% of the world’s trade passes through the Middle East by sea, and my ship’s company is ready to operate with our allies throughout the region to promote stability, counter terrorism and ensure legitimate maritime activity may proceed unhindered.

“We are trained and ready for anything from high-end warfighting, to maritime security operations, to providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief if required.”

The crew also engaged in flight deck sports at sea and participated in several sporting fixtures ashore.

The ship’s command team held briefings and meetings with representatives of other nations who are involved in the mission to enhance maritime security.

Image: HMS Portland crew undergoes training for Gulf deployment. Photo: courtesy of Royal Navy.