The Type 3 Frigate, HMS St Albans [F83], dropped in to Loch Fyne today, 14th October, for a spot of training. She was making repeated trips at modest speed up and down the deep channel off the east shore between Inveraray and Dalchenna before heading south out of the loch towards evening.
She appears to be on her way back south to her home port of Portsmouth, after her participation in the biannual multinational, multiservice Exercise Joint Warrior 122, which finished last Thursday, 1th October 2012.
The last of the sixteen Type 23 or Duke class frigates, St Albans was built at BAE Systems at Scotstoun on the Clyde and launched on 6th May 2000.
Based in Portsmouth, before she had even entered service operationally, St Albans was hit at her berth on 27th October 2002 when gale force winds pushed the ferry, Pride of Portsmouth, off her line. None of the frigate’s crew were injured but the ship took damage to her gun deck, her davits and one wing of her bridge.
In 2006 she did a six month tour to the Gulf and was on her way back form completing that tour when, on 12th July 2006 – the day that the Israeli-Lebanon conflict broke out.
St Albans was deployed to transport British evacuees from Beirut to Cyprus and then to stay on standby near Beirut before heading home to Portsmouth where she arrived in mid August.
In 2007 St Albans deserted the west for the east coast of Scotland and spent a year in refit at Rosyth in Fife. She had a new Type 2087 sonar system installed and was converted to carry one Merlin HM1 helicopter for which there is an enclosed hangar.
Between 2000 and 2010 she did a second tour to the Gulf, engaged mainly on a security deployment.
In May 2012 she visited Iceland on a ceremonial visit where where her the captain, Commander Tom Sharpe and the UK Ambassador to Iceland, Ian Whitting, cast a wreath into Hvalfjörður – as a mark of respect for this vital staging point on the Arctic Convoys route to the Kola Inlet and Murmansk, bringing supplies to relieve the Soviet Union in World War II.