HMS Gloucester deploys to South Atlantic

June 12, 2009 at 1:27 PM

PORTSMOUTH, England, June 12 (UPI) -- The British Royal Navy announced the deployment of the HMS Gloucester to the South Atlantic Ocean region to support counter-narcotic operations.

The Royal Navy's HMS Gloucester, a Type 42 destroyer, left its homeport of Portsmouth, England Thursday for a six-month deployment.

The mission is part of an effort to support security and counter-narcotic operations in the waters around the Falkland Islands and other British South Atlantic Territories, the British Ministry of Defense reported.

Officials say the HMS Gloucester, who will also conduct search and rescue missions and humanitarian relief operations, will become the lead ship for the Royal Navy in the South Atlantic. The HMS Clyde patrol vessel and Gold Rover Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel are already in the Falkland Islands region.

"The varied tasks that we will be required to undertake are of vital importance to the safety and security of the people of the British South Atlantic Territories and the United Kingdom's wider maritime interests," Cmdr. Iain Lower, HMS Gloucester commanding officer, said in a statement.

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