August 22, 2019 – HMS Duncan, one of two operational Type 45s, met up with USNS Alan Shepard to refuel before heading back to duties protecting British-flagged shipping in the Strait of Hormuz.
Alongside HMS Montrose, the Type 45 destroyer is committed to ensuring freedom of navigation and safeguarding global trade passing through the narrow channel between Oman and Iran.
Protection of one of the busiest waterways in the world is thirsty work for an 8,500-tonne warship, meaning her pit stop with the Americans keeps her ticking along for further operations.
Following a week of tasking, Duncan conducted a Replenishment at Sea (RAS) with USNS Alan Shepard, taking on fuel before returning to business.
“Although a highly efficient ship and a quantum leap in reduced fuel consumption from her predecessor, the Type 42, HMS Duncan needs fuel to provide a continuous presence here in the Middle East,” Commander Tom Trent, Duncan’s Commanding Officer, said “Thanks to our US partners, HMS Duncan was topped up after this ‘pit stop’ and straight back to work.”
The RAS is a complex operation, with two heavyweight ships sailing just metres apart. It was the job of Lieutenant Andy Osborne, HMS Duncan’s navigator, to keep the destroyer steady during the replenishment.
The Yorkshireman arrived in Duncan only a few weeks ago and is navigating his third Type 45 in quick succession.
“With the extreme heat and humidity felt at this time of year, coupled with recent events, the risk is higher than usual.
“The team were well prepared and ever vigilant to ensure the RAS continued smoothly and successfully into the darkness as the sun set,” he said.
Following the top up, Duncan headed back to work accompanying British flagged merchant shipping in the Strait of Hormuz.
HMS Duncan has been deployed for five months and arrived in the Gulf last month.
Prior to heading to the Middle East, she carried out work in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea alongside regional allies.