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The UK Royal Navy (RN) decommissioned the Type 23 frigate HMS Montrose on 17 April 2023 with a ceremony in Portsmouth.

Launched in July 1992, HMS Montrose was the seventh ship in the class of 16 Duke-class frigates to be laid down (back in 1989) and the eighth to be commissioned into RN service, in June 1994. The ship clocked up more than 400,000 miles on duties at home and overseas during 29 years in active service.

Most recently the ship spent four years constantly deployed on operations, almost exclusively in the Gulf and Indian Ocean. During that time HMS Montrose made 10 drug busts that yielded 16 tonnes of illegal narcotics, seized illegal shipments of missiles and cruise missile engines, and helped safely guide some 130 merchant vessels through potentially dangerous maritime chokepoints, according to the RN.

The Type 23 Frigate HMS Montrose protecting international shipping lanes in the Gulf in August 2019. The ship’s 29 years of active RN service came to an end on 17 April 2023. (Photo: Crown Copyright)

HMS Montrose returned to Devonport in December 2022 and since then has operated around the UK, including a farewell visit to the ship’s namesake town in northeastern Scotland.

As a general-duty HMS Montrose will be replaced by one of the five Type 31 Inspiration-class frigates under construction in Rosyth. The first, Venturer, is due to take to the water later this year.

Montrose will now enter a decommissioning phase, but the ship’s ultimate fate has not yet been determined.

Peter Felstead