A PORTLAND-based Royal Navy support ship will be on the hunt for pirates as it heads out to the Indian Ocean.
The British Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker Fort Victoria will proudly head up an international task force in the area.
RFA Fort Victoria traditionally provides crucial supplies for Royal Navy and warships east of Suez but will serve as the seagoing headquarters for this multi-national operation.
She has sailed from Bahrain with the Singapore-led command staff of Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 aboard and for the next three months will direct the efforts of half a dozen warships drawn from various nations.
The warships will include the Royal Navy‚Äôs own HMS Northumberland and will be tasked with ensuring merchant ships pass safely from the Red Sea to the Strait of Hormuz, including the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin.
While on deployment RFA Fort Victoria will have two roles; to provide supplies to sustain the mission of the rest of the task force and to as a base for Singapore‚Äôs Rear Admiral Giam Hock Koon and his staff which are drawn from seven different countries.
The ship‚Äôs commanding officer Captain Kevin Rimell RFA said: ‚ÄúFor a British ship to fly the flag for such a well-regarded international task force is a real honour and source of pride for myself and the crew.‚Äù
Since embarking the staff on board RFA Fort Victoria have been getting to know their new home and familiarising themselves with the facilities on board and ship‚Äôs capabilities.
Rear Admiral Giam was full of praise for the vessel and her crew.
He said: ‚ÄúRFA Fort Victoria possesses good communication facilities, an experienced crew and the strong supportive leadership of Capt Rimell and his team.
‚ÄúThe CTF 151 team has seamlessly shifted our command from our shore facility in Bahrain and now looks forward to setting sail and getting into the thick of the action.‚Äù