HMS Diamond left Portsmouth Naval Base as part of the UK’s response to support Nato countries in eastern Europe. The Type 45 destroyer is set to join offshore patrol vessel HMS Trent in the eastern Mediterranean with four additional RAF Typhoon jets being deployed to Cyprus to take part in Nato patrols in eastern Europe. Hundreds of troops have also been deployed to Estonia and Poland.
Diamond has been deployed by the UK Government to be on standby in the Mediterranean in case it is required as part of a wider Nato force.
It had originally been set to leave on February 17 but its departure was delayed by Storm Eunice with further delays due to the warship needing minor repairs.
The problems meant that all of the navy’s £6 billion fleet of Type 45s were alongside at the same time, with four vessels in Portsmouth and two in Birkenhead.
Diamond’s sister ship HMS Defender will sail later on Friday for a short period at sea prior to returning to base ahead of deployment to a major sea exercise off Norway which will also involve aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales.
Families of Diamond’s crew waved them off from the harbour walls including the family of Chief Petty Officer Sean Baldwin, 35, from Havant, Hampshire.
His children could be heard calling out “Love you Daddy” as the warship sailed past.
His mother, Beverley Baldwin, said: “We are really proud of all of them. We are quite apprehensive and worried and we’ve just got to support him and hope they all come back safe.”
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