ONE of the Royal Navy's most modern warships, HMS Portland, arrived in Palma on Sunday at the start of a five-day visit. She is on her way home to Davenport from the Persian Gulf at the end of a six-month deployment as part of Operation Armilla, enforcing the United Nations sanctions on Iraq, hunting down, stopping and searching rogue sanction busting tankers. HMS Portland was responsible for two very important seizures of illegal fuel bound for Iraq, but prior to handing over to HMS Argyll, the Portland's crew boarded a total of 56 ships. The tour of duty in the Gulf took the Portland to Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar and is proud of her success. On board the Type 23 frigate is a crew of 180, 28 are women, under the command of Commander Jonathan Handley who assumed command of the ship in October 1999. Commander Handley said yesterday that this visit is the Portland's first to Majorca but hopes that the courtesy call will help to strengthen the UK and Spain's close naval relationship. Some of the crew will be taking part in the Virgin del Carmen celebrations today.


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