The Royal Navy frigate MHS Portland will sail into Palma on Sunday for a six day visit to the island. The Type 23 frigate HMS Portland was only accepted into service by the Royal Navy on December 15, 2000 but over the past 18 months she has seen plenty of action. She will be calling into Palma on her way home to Davenport from the Arabian Gulf where, under the command of Commander Jonathan Handley, HMS Portland has been operating as an Armilla patrol ship, helping to enforce the United Nations sanctions against Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. On one of her operations recently she intercepted and boarded an Iraqi tanker which was found carrying 3.100 tonnes of illegal diesel oil. The Portland's Royal Marine boarding party, which encountered barbed wire strung across the upper deck with hatches and doors welded shut to hinder access, took control of the tanker and found the contraband oil. The Type 23 frigates are powerful and versatile, capable of operating any where in the world and have proved vital to the sanction enforcing naval operation in the Arabian Gulf. There are 16 Type 23 and they form 50 per cent of the total frigate/destroyer force in the Royal Navy. They were originally designed for the principal task of anti-submarine warfare, but have since evolved into powerful multi-purpose ships with the capability to operate anywhere in the world. The effectiveness of these ships is enhanced by their stealth design which reduces the ability to be detected by radar. On July 1 she handed over to sister ship HMS Argyll which assumed the duty as the Armilla guardship as HMS Portland set sail for home, via the Suez Canal and Majorca.


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