Royal Navy warship HMS Portland was waved off by families and friends when she deployed from Plymouth on a seven-month Atlantic patrol.

The ship has close ties with Weymouth and Portland and several local sailors serve on board.

The Plymouth-based Type 23 frigate left HM Naval Base, Devonport to provide protection and reassurance to British interests in the region. It maintains the continuous Royal Naval presence in the Atlantic.

A small crowd gathered on Devil’s Point with good luck banners as they bade farewell to the ship sailing through Plymouth Sound to sea.

HMS Portland will undertake maritime security operations, including counter-narcotics and anti-piracy patrols, providing opportunities to work with other navies to strengthen ties and demonstrate the Royal Navy’s commitment to the region.

Commanding Officer of HMS Portland, Commander Sarah West said: “This deployment marks the culmination of a busy period regenerating HMS Portland from upkeep to operational status.

"My ship’s company are looking forward to the challenges offered by the deployment and the opportunity to work alongside other navies.’’

Cdr West, the first female commander of a Royal Naval major warship, said: “I have been in the Navy for 18 years and taking this ship on deployment is the pinnacle of my career.

"I have a great ship’s company and they are also looking forward to the deployment ahead.’’

She also thanked families and friends for their support to her and her crew in taking the ship out of maintenance and through intensive ship’s trials and training.

She leaves a sister and mother and many friends back in the UK, but will be keeping in touch.