The Royal Navy warship HMS Sutherland returns to the South West this weekend after a six-month patrol in the Middle East and Indian Ocean.
The ship will arrive at HM Naval Base, Devonport, Plymouth, on Saturday at about 11am, with families due to greet the crew on the jetty. The ship's Culdrose-based Merlin Helicopter flight is due back separately at the Helston air station.
HMS Sutherland has been busy conducting anti-piracy and terrorism patrols as part of combined maritime forces, ensuring the sea lanes and waters East of Suez and off the Horn of Africa are safe for seafarers to conduct their daily business.
HMS Sutherland's captain, Commander Al Wilson, said:
"The huge variety and diversity of task that Sutherland has fulfilled whilst on operations illustrates the inherent flexibility of the Royal Navy in protecting and promoting UK interests worldwide, whether it is preventing piracy or terrorism at sea or strengthening bonds with regional allies.
"However, we could not have achieved this without an efficient, capable and highly motivated ship's company and, as always, I am highly proud of what my team has achieved over the last six months whilst remaining cheerful and utterly professional throughout. My team and myself are now looking forward to spending Christmas at home with our loved ones."
HMS Sutherland has also been home for the past six months to the aircrew and engineers from a group of personnel from 829 Naval Air Squadron from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, Cornwall, and their Merlin helicopter.
Having handed over duties to sister ship HMS Northumberland at the end of November, the crew of HMS Sutherland is now looking forward to spending Christmas at home and time with families and friends before welcoming new duties in 2013.