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HMS Trent sails from Gibraltar for security patrols off West Africa

Photo by Moses Anahory

The Royal Navy patrol ship HMS Trent is setting sail from its operating base in Gibraltar to the waters of the Gulf of Guinea, the first British warship to visit the region in three years.

The ship will carry out security patrols and a mission to support UK allies in West Africa.

The River-class patrol ship will visit Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Gambia and Cape Verde, and will take part in French-led multinational training exercises that will bring together international partners in the region, known as Exercise Grand African Nemo.

HMS Trent will conduct maritime security patrols as well as support partner navies by helping them to develop key maritime skills and develop plans for future operations in the region.

The UK Government said the deployment is “a clear signal” of its commitment to being more persistently engaged in the region, through which more than £6 billion of UK trade passes every year.

“This deployment shows the Integrated Review in action,” said UK Armed Forces Minister James Heappey.

“It demonstrates how a truly Global Britain is stepping up on the world stage to tackle shared international security challenges.”

“Working hand-in-hand with our allies we are utilising our forward deployed Armed Forces to tackle threats at the source, making the world a safer place for all.”

HMS Trent carries on board a contingent of Royal Marines from 42 Commando, which will train UK partner forces across the region in skills like boarding and searching of suspicious vessels, as well as evidence handling and medical skills.

As well delivering training to partner nations, 42 Commando are experts in boarding operations helping fight against illegal activity like piracy, drugs-smuggling and terrorism.

HMS Trent will attend the Friends of the Gulf of Guinea (FoGG) G7++ conference in Dakar, which the UK is co-chairing with hosts Senegal. Britain established the group in 2013 as part of the then G8 to coordinate regional maritime security efforts.

“Continuing a year of forward deployed operations in the Black Sea and Mediterranean, this deployment marks an important return to the region for the Royal Navy demonstrating our commitment to improving Maritime Security in the area,” said HMS Trent’s Commanding Officer, Commander Thomas Knott.

“We are extremely proud and excited to commence this deployment to what is an exciting new region for HMS Trent.”
“We are looking forward to working with regional partners and also engaging with local communities in an effort to strengthen security.”

HMS Trent is one of five Royal Navy patrol ships which are currently operating around the world in areas of critical importance to the UK – from the Indo-Pacific, South Atlantic to the Mediterranean and Caribbean.

This is part of the Royal Navy’s Forward Presence programme that seeks to put patrol ships in positions around the globe ready to respond to global events.

HMS Trent finished preparations for her patrol to West Africa in the waters close to Gibraltar, refreshing skills following a period of maintenance and a rotation of crew.

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