HMS Somerset (F82)
HMS Somerset is a Type 23 frigate of the Royal Navy. She is the eleventh ship of the class to join the fleet since 1989. She was built by Yarrow Shipbuilders Ltd on the River Clyde, in Scotland and was launched in June 1994 by Lady Elspeth Layard, wife of then 2nd Sea Lord Admiral and Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command Admiral Sir Michael Layard. She entered service in 1996. Lady Layard is the ship's sponsor. She is named after the Dukedom of Somerset.
HMS Somerset in Indian Ocean, 2011
|Laid down:||12 October 1992|
|Launched:||25 June 1994|
|Sponsored by:||Lady Layard|
|Commissioned:||20 September 1996|
|Refit:||Major 2012-2013, LIFEX 2019 onwards|
|Homeport:||HMNB Devonport, Plymouth|
|Status:||in active service|
|Class and type:||Type 23 Frigate|
|Displacement:||4,900 t (4,800 long tons; 5,400 short tons)|
|Length:||133 m (436 ft 4 in)|
|Beam:||16.1 m (52 ft 10 in)|
|Draught:||7.3 m (23 ft 11 in)|
|Speed:||In excess of 28 kn (52 km/h; 32 mph)|
|Range:||7,500 nautical miles (14,000 km) at 15 kn (28 km/h)|
|Complement:||185 (accommodation for up to 205)|
|Electronic warfare |
The fourth Somerset to serve in the Royal Navy, she has inherited four battle honours from previous ships of the name; Vigo Bay (1702), Velez Malaga (1704), Louisburg (1758) and Quebec (1759). The previous ships all served during the 18th century and ensured that the name Somerset played a significant part in that period of naval history.
Somerset's home port is HMNB Devonport. The ship has the Freedom of the City of Wells and is also affiliated with the County of Somerset, the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries, the 2nd and 4th Battalions of The Rifles (inherited from affiliation with the Royal Green Jackets), TS Weston and TS Queen Elizabeth Sea Cadet Units, Downside, Baytree and Helles Schools, Bridgwater College and the Somerset Legion House of The Royal British Legion. The 19th Duke of Somerset takes a keen interest in the ship and is a regular visitor, and the ship also hosted Harry Patch, Simon Weston (in place of Johnson Beharry) and Marcus Trescothick whilst docked at Avonmouth for a remembrance service to launch the 2008 British Legion Poppy Appeal.
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On 18 February 2009, Somerset sailed from Devonport as part of the Taurus 09 deployment under Commander UK Amphibious Task Group, Commodore Peter Hudson. She was joined on this deployment by landing platform dock Bulwark as Hudson's flagship, landing platform helicopter Ocean, Type 23 frigate Argyll and four ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
In May 2010 she sailed for Operation Telic, conducting boarding operations and oil platform protection operations in the Persian Gulf.
On 3 May 2012, she began a refit at the Devonport Royal Dockyard operated by the Babcock International Group. The refit was expected to take 9 months. She took part in Exercise Joint Warrior 2013. In January 2015, HMS Somerset took part in the search for the crew of the Cyprus-registered cement carrier Cemfjord, which had capsized in the Pentland Firth.
On 23 April 2015, with the Border Force cutter Valiant, she intercepted the Tanzanian-registered tug Hamal in the North Sea about 100 miles off Aberdeen, leading to the seizure of more than three tons of cocaine, believed to be at the time the single largest seizure of a Class A drug in the UK.
In November 2015, she visited Valencia - the first Royal Navy ship to do so in a number of years. While there, she met a delegation led by Juan Carlos Valderrama Zurián, the Central Government Representative for the Valencia region, and hosted a lunch to thank representatives of various Armed Forces charities for their work. In December 2015, she returned to port after performing guard duties at the 2015 CHOGM.
Somerset was awarded the 'Fleet Frigate Effectiveness Trophy' for 2017. A Royal Navy press release said; "HMS Somerset has been awarded the accolade for being the most successful and versatile of all of the Royal Navy’s frigates, which are widely considered to be the workhorses of the fleet."
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