Daring heads east
HMS Daring was on a routine visit to the Rock last week before sailing to the Middle East to conduct operations against smuggling, pirates, human trafficking and terrorists.
The role of HMS Daring is to protect US aircraft carriers striking at terrorists in Iraq and Syria.
She is the UK’s latest contribution to the campaign against Daesh – also known as Islamic State - and holds a crew of 190. The nine month deployment began just a week ago after sailing from Portsmouth.
According to Commanding Officer Commander Philip Dennis the campaign is a “well-trodden path” with HMS Defender, Duncan, Diamond and Dragon all previously patrolling the same route.
He added HMS Daring will counter the illegal arms trade, alcohol smuggling, drug smuggling, and people smuggling, all while protecting UK interests.
“Our specialisation is warfare but we also act as an intelligence information hub, sharing the information round different task groups, some of that information intelligence may indicate an operation against a potential drug smuggler so we’ll see what comes,” said Commander Dennis.
The £1billion ship was kitted out with the new Wildcat helicopter. Commander Dennis said he was looking forward to seeing the improvement in senses and engine performances.
On the technical issues faced by HMS Daring, the first Type 45 destroyer, where the engine breaks down in warm water Commander Dennis told the Chronicle they will be regularly changing their routines to benefit the ship.
“Type 45 has had a long history of technical issues with their power and propulsion systems but really for any ship which relies on salt water for cooling its systems when you sail into warmer waters you will have a period of acclimatisation,” he said.
The issue has affected all six of the destroyers and as from 2019 the ships will undergo a major engine refit.
Commander Dennis added he was glad to be back in Gibraltar and visits the Rock regularly during his deployments.
“As ever a great way to start a Royal Navy deployment is a day or two in Gibraltar,” he said. “It is a shame we can’t be here longer. It is a come away from home for the Royal Navy and I have pretty much come here on every ship I have ever served in so it is good to touch base with the Rock.”
Commanding Officer Commander Simon Collins was also on deck at HMS Daring on a short trip to provide guidance and advice.
The deployment will be the first for weapons engineer Michael Williams, and Marines Matt Winterbotham, and Matt Hall who look forward to the next nine months in the Gulf.