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Daring safely escorts 800,000 tonnes of shipping through ‘missile alley’
21 April 2017

HMS Daring has safely escorted more than 800,000 tonnes of shipping safely through ‘missile alley’ in the Red Sea.

The destroyer ran the gauntlet of the Bab al Mandeb Strait, where at least two ships have been hit by missiles fired from land, 20 times.

HMS Daring escorts the 62,000-tonne American military ferry/cargo ship USNS Brittin safely through ‘missile alley’

MS Daring has safely escorted more than 800,000 tonnes of shipping safely through ‘missile alley’ in the Red Sea.

The destroyer – designed and built for exactly this mission – ran the gauntlet of the Bab al Mandeb Strait, where at least two ships have been hit by missiles fired from land, 20 times.

Twice Portsmouth-based Daring was dispatched to the narrows – barely a dozen miles wide – for extended periods to protect shipping with her Sea Viper anti-air missile system, the first time it has been called upon in a real-world situation.

The destroyer helped more than 800,000 tonnes of shipping through – that’s nearly 100 times her own displacement, the equivalent of about a dozen QE2s, or four World War 2 Atlantic convoys.

She has now handed over her security duties east of Suez to frigate HMS Monmouth, her mission in the Middle East complete after seven and a half months in the region.

Daring’s Commanding Officer Commander Marcus Hember said his ship had not merely ensured the safe passage of merchant vessels, but warships as well; the BAM, as it is known in military terminology, is one of the most important ‘choke points’ on the Seven Seas. If it were ever closed, it would have a severe impact on global trade – not least the fuel from the Middle East delivered to the UK by tankers passing through the strait.

“The increase in activity in the Bab al Mandeb strait has heightened tensions as a result of the attacks on the MV Swift and Royal Saudi Navy vessel RSN Al Madinah,” Cdr Hember said.

“So I am proud that Daring has played a significant part in reassuring the international community that international trades routes remains accessible and in maintaining the wider regional stability in the Gulf area.”

Depending on the speed of the escorted vessels, it can take up to 12 hours to run the gauntlet of the Bab al Mandeb with Daring’s ship’s company frequently at action stations (117hours in all, with the longest patrol lasting 40 days).

HMS Daring alongside in the Israeli port of Haifi

To ensure the destroyer could sustain long periods of high-tempo operations, the logistics team on board ensured the there was plenty of fuel and food aboard; Daring refuelled 16 times at sea, taking on board more than 7½ million litres of diesel – enough to fill 112,000 family cars.

Daring left the Middle East with praise ringing in her ears from Rear Admiral Bob Tarrant, the Royal Navy’s Commander of Operations – who directs the work of all Britain’s warships, submarines and naval aircraft on front-line duties around the globe on a daily basis.

“I have been thoroughly impressed with the professionalism, operational grit, and infectious enthusiasm displayed by all,” he told the 240 men and women aboard the destroyer.

“HMS Daring has represented the RN and the UK superbly in a challenging deployment protecting UK interests in the Middle East region, her Ship’s Company should be justifiably proud of their achievements.”

After a visit to Haifa in Israel and a short stint in the Black Sea, Daring is due home in Portsmouth next month.