Two Royal Navy warships set sail from Portsmouth on 13 February 2006 for separate six-month security missions in the Gulf, making a powerful contribution to the safety of legitimate maritime trade in the region.
Type 23 frigate HMS St Albans will patrol the Gulf region with coalition forces while sister ship HMS Lancaster will team up with a French Navy task group led by the giant aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle.
St Albans will conduct a series of goodwill port visits in the Mediterranean before passing through the Suez Canal for patrols on the Indian Ocean. There she will help protect the Iraqi oil infrastructure - vital in supporting Iraq to rebuild its economy - and keep an eye out for vessels involved in piracy and smuggling illicit cargo. She will query any suspicious vessels and carry out boardings if necessary