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Daring makes iconic passage of Suez to begin her deployment in earnest
2 February 2012

HMS Daring has sailed through the Suez Canal for the first time as she begins her maiden deployment in earnest.

It took 12 hours for the Type 45 destroyer to pass through the 120-mile canal linking the Mediterranean with the Middle East, where she’ll spend the next six months.

Pictures: LA(Phot) Keith Morgan, HMS Daring

ANOTHER day, another set of stunning, iconic images from Britain’s most advanced warship on her maiden deployment.

HMS Daring’s east of Suez tour of duty can now begin in earnest as she’s passed through the great man-made waterway linking the Mediterranean with the Middle and Far Easts for the first time.

It took 12 hours for the Type 45 destroyer to cover the 120-mile length of the canal, emerging in the Gulf of Suez – and officially into her area of operations.

Suez is one of the world’s ‘choke points’ – narrow stretches of water (just 205 metres/670ft across) through which high volumes of maritime traffic pass.

Machine-guns on the forecastle are manned as the ship continues her passage

Its narrowness also means that Royal Navy ships and submarines using it are on alert with upper deck guns manned throughout the passage.

The ship’s force protection teams were at full readiness during the 12-hour transit, supervised by the Gunnery Officer, Lt Jason Hannigan.

“We have trained repeatedly to prepare for this demanding passage. The team performed well and the ship made the transit through the Suez exactly as planned: it was a particularly proud day for me in my career in the Royal Navy,” he said.

Being on the upper deck did permit them to catch some impressive sights, among them the imposing memorial on Lake Timsah, near Ismailia, to those who defended the canal in the Great War, and the 404m (1,325ft) span of the Suez Canal Bridge (also known as the Friendship Bridge) which binds Africa with Asia.

With its 70m (230ft) clearance there’s plenty of space even for Daring, whose Sampson radar (the large spiky spinning egg on top of the Type 45’s trademark main mast) sits around 30m (100ft) above the warship’s waterline.

“Some of the sights from the canal were spectacular, particularly passing under the Friendship Bridge. HMS Daring made a remarkable sight and was part of long convoy of large merchant vessels of all descriptions,” said her Commanding Officer Capt Guy Robinson.

With the Portsmouth-based warship now in her operating area, she’ll spend the next six months on a wide-ranging mission: maritime security, counter piracy, working with Coalition and regional navies, including the US Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, and generally building on the Royal Navy’s long-term efforts to maintain stability in the region.

Daring approaches the memorial near Ismailia erected in honour of those who defended the Canal Zone between 1914 and 1918