HMS Richmond refuels and loads stores in Gibraltar bound for Red Sea

The Royal Navy frigate HMS Richmond arrived in Gibraltar on Tuesday morning for a brief stop in its way to the Red Sea, where it will form part of a US-led coalition to protect ships trading between Asia and Europe through the Suez Canal.

The vessel set sail from Plymouth last Friday to provide resilience to the UK’s presence in the Gulf as part of an operation in response to recent attacks by the Houthis, an Iran-backed militant group from Yemen which has targeted trade vessels trying to pass through the region.

Earlier this week Defence Secretary Grant Shapps insisted the Red Sea shipping crisis has not escalated despite the deployment of an additional Royal Navy warship.

Mr Shapps told MPs that HMS Richmond, a type 23 frigate, is only being deployed to the Gulf region to replace British vessels already patrolling the Red Sea.

The UK has already sent HMS Diamond and HMS Lancaster to the region as part of Operation Prosperity Guardian, which has been protecting trade ships as they sail towards the Suez Canal and Europe.

Addressing the “intolerable situation of the Houthis closing international waterways”, Mr Shapps said: “We call for the Iranian-backed Houthis to immediately cease these attacks.”

“The Houthis will bear (the) responsibility of the consequences should they ignore these warnings.”

After stopping in Gibraltar, HMS Richmond, under the command of Commander Rich Kemp, will head through the Mediterranean Sea before transiting the Suez Canal to join forces already operating in the area.

During the brief stop in Gibraltar to take on stores and refuel, the ship’s company will undertake the traditional ‘Rock Run’.