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THE Royal Navy frigate Monmouth sailed into Palma on Sunday for a brief stop-off as part of a nine month deployment which will see the state-of-the-art warship visit a number of countries including Australia.

Awaiting her arrival at the quayside on Sunday was British Consul Paul Abrey.
Yesterday, the ship's commanding officer, Commander Tim Peacock and the Consul carried out a number of official calls on the leading local authorities. Her crew of 180 spent the weekend relaxing on the island and visiting local tourist and scenic spots.

The Monmouth will not return home to her Devenport base until November and the deployment will really test her ship's company. Commander Peacock, who is also a Fleet Air Arm pilot, has visited Palma before; the last time was as executive officer of the frigate Campbeltown.

The frigate is known as the Black Duke and she flies a blag flag from her mast head. She was built at Yarrow shipbuilders on the Clyde. Launched in 1991 the Monmouth is an extremely potent vessel. Her main armament consists of the Harpoon surface to surface missile system and the Sea Wolf surface to air system. She is also equipped with a Merlin helicopter. The warship displaces more than 4'900 tons.

The Type 23s or Duke Class frigates form the backbone of the Royal Navy fleet. A total of 13 are in service. Designed initially for anti-submarine warfare in the Atlantic during the Cold war the Type 23s have accepted a more flexible role with vessels of this type serving in the Gulf to the South Atlantic.

During this deployment the Monmouth will be carrying out a series of exercises with friendly navies across the world.
She is the first Royal Navy warship to visit Palma for more than a year.
However, her crew were quick in insisting yesterday that while other deployments may keep them away from these shores Majorca remains one of the most popular liberty ports in the Mediterranean.