HMS Duncan stops in Malaga at start of Nato flagship role in the Mediterranean


A view of Malaga from teh bridge of HMS Duncan. / FRAN ACEVEDO

  • The warship, which was open to visitors on Tuesday, will be collaborating with other countries in the fight against people trafficking

The Royal Navy warship HMS Duncan docked in Malaga port last Monday morning on its return to the Mediterranean to take over as flagship to Nato's Standing Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2).

The Type 45 destroyer left Portsmouth Naval Base on 8 January to resume the role after a three-month stint in charge of the group last year.

The ship remained on Malaga's Levante quay for the rest of the week and opened its decks to visitors on Tuesday. The visit also included a reception for authorities and meetings with civilian and military representatives to strengthen defence cooperation between Spain and the UK.

The HMS Duncan is the Royal Navy's most modern warship and the sixth and final Type 45 destroyer, launched in October 2010. The ship owes its name to Adam Duncan (1731 -1804), the admiral who defeated the Dutch fleet off Camperdown on 11 October 1797, a victory that was considered one of the most significant actions in British naval history.

In front of the large windows on the ship's bridge with their views of Malaga city centre, representatives of the 275-strong crew explained the three main missions of the HMS Duncan as flagship to SNMG2. The first is to be permanently available to Nato in the Mediterranean to respond to humanitarian and military crises; the second, to aid Frontex in the fight against human trafficking and smuggling in the Mediterranean; and finally to strengthen relations with Nato partners and collaboration with other countries' naval forces.

SNMG2 is a multinational, integrated maritime force, made up of vessels from various allied nations, training and operating together as a single team, stresses the Royal Navy.

The HMS Duncan measures 152 metres in length with a displacement of 8,000 long tonnes and is equipped to defend itself against attacks from aircraft, other ships and submarines. Weapons include C Viper missiles and the Phalanx system designed to bring down missiles in flight before impact. The ship is also armed with the Harpoon anti-ship missile system as well as a Wildcat, the Royal Navy's latest maritime attack helicopter.

At the helm of the HMS Duncan is Commander Eleanor Stack, the first woman commanding officer of a warship of this kind. Also on board is Commodore Michael Utley OBE, the head of SNMG2.

The commodore joined the commander to host a cocktail party on board the ship on Monday evening for representatives of the Spanish and British military and civilian populations in Malaga and on the Costa del Sol, among them the British consul, Charmaine Arbouin.

The event was attended on behalf of the Spanish government by the delegate for Malaga, Miguel Briones, who welcomed HMS Duncan and crew to Malaga, stressing the importance of the Nato mission in the Mediterranean.