Providing security at sea

A thriving global economy depends on maritime trade – and as an island nation, the UK needs a strong navy to protect its interests on the high seas. Day after day, the Royal Navy keeps a watchful eye over home and international waters, safeguarding its citizens and allies from pirates, terrorists and criminals, and ensuring that vital trade can continue without interruption.

Key activities

Providing security at sea

Maintaining capability

Over 17.3 billion tonnes of goods are imported into the UK every year, and more than 600,000 UK jobs directly depend on maritime trade. With so much at stake, it’s vital that the Royal Navy strikes a formidable presence on the world stage.

In order to keep our maritime trade routes safe, the Royal Navy requires a truly global reach. Our forces deploy right across the world, maintaining a strong presence and forging links with independent territories.

Providing security at sea

Working in partnership

Keeping the high seas safe is a truly international undertaking. The Royal Navy works with NATO and other allied nations on security operations and exercises all over the world, including the Gulf and the Horn of Africa.

Internal partnerships are just as important as international ones. Equipped with the skills, knowledge and equipment needed to keep our seas safe, our personnel are highly trained experts who share an unwavering commitment to protecting the interests of the UK and its allies.

Providing security at sea

Fighting crime

Some 90% of global trade is transported by sea – and inevitably, this attracts the attention of criminals. The Royal Navy is committed to protecting maritime trade from pirates, terrorists and traffickers and keeping the wheels of commerce turning, whatever it takes.

British ships and units, including the Royal Marines, are committed to maritime security operations around the world. These operations focus on reassurance and wider regional engagement, with the ultimate aim of protecting the interests of the UK and its allies.

Meet the team...

SLt Jenkins,
Assistant Operations Officer

My last appointment involved carrying out fishery protection; it has been an interesting and positive change to move to MCM1 squadron and take a more active role in providing security at sea for the wider strategic roles of the Royal Navy.

Lt Barlow,
Royal Marines Commando

I joined the Royal Marines to make a difference. By patrolling the high seas and keeping them safe, I feel like I’m doing just that.

PO Barton,
Ops Room Supervisor

As the Ops Room Supervisor, my job is to co-ordinate the search for mines and launch the SeaFox underwater vehicle to investigate any suspected contacts.

Click on a location to explore our operations

 

Indian Ocean

Operation Atalanta

EU NAVFOR operates in an Area of Operations covering the Southern Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and a large part of the Indian Ocean, including the Seychelles, Mauritius and Comoros. The main purpose of Operation Atalanta is the deterrence and disruption of acts of piracy and armed robbery on the high seas. Warships apprehend suspected pirates following intelligence reports of pirate activity or sightings by merchant vessels and MPRAs.

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Northern Europe and Baltic Sea

Exercise Baltops

Exercise Baltops is the largest multinational maritime exercise in the Baltic Sea, demonstrating the UK's continuing commitment to the collective security of NATO allies.

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South Atlantic

Atlantic Patrol Tasking

Ships and units on Atlantic Patrol Tasking provide ongoing protection and reassurance to British interests in the Atlantic, maintaining the continuous Royal Naval presence in the Atlantic. 

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Indian Ocean

Combined Task Force

CTF 150 operates in an area that spans over two million square miles. This covers the Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea, Red Sea, and the Northern Indian Ocean. The Force was created to counter terrorism, prevent smuggling, create a lawful maritime order and conduct Maritime Security Operations (MSO) to help develop security in the maritime environment.

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Middle East

Kipion

Units of the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary have been on patrol in the Gulf since October 1980, after the Iran/Iraq conflict of that year, and more recently operations have extended further south with the increase in piracy off the Somalia coast. 

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Middle East

Kipion MCMV

In support of wider British efforts in the region, minehunters are providing the capability to conduct route survey, sea-bed clearance, and mine clearance operations all over the Gulf. 

The operation also aims to provide a visible naval presence in a region where stability and good relations with local nations is vital. Much of the UK’s oil and gas, as well as other products, come from the Gulf region and as such these efforts are of vital importance to our economy and lifestyle.

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Arctic

Nato MCMV Force

The RN has always supplied an MCMV to one of the two NATO Mine Counter-Measures Squadrons. These are six-month deployments as part of the NATO Standing MCM Groups and will generally be around the coasts of Northern Europe or the Mediterranean depending upon the squadron in which the RN ship is working. 

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Caribbean

Operation Ruman

Operation Ruman is the UK's military response to providing vital humanitarian aid and supplies to the Caribbean islands devastated by Hurricane Irma. The specialist humanitarian and disaster relief team on RFA Mounts Bay and her Wildcat helicopter are providing assistance to badly affected areas. Royal Marines from 40 Commando are helping to distribute aid and support local police. HMS Ocean has been diverted from the Mediterranean and is carrying a significant amount of aid and equipment.

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Mediterranean

Surveying the Ocean

Hydrographic ships work in a variety of sea areas to gather and process hydrographic and oceanographic data for planning and operational purposes. In addition this data will be dispatched to the UK Hydrographic Office for analysis and inclusion into navigational charts and other navigational safety publications. The ships also closely monitor other vessels whilst deployed and deterring any potential illegal activity.

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Mediterranean

Operation Sophia

A European Union Naval Force operation to counter arms bound for Libya, in support of the UN arms embargo. 

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Hawaii

Rim of the Pacific

Twenty-two nations, 49 surface ships, 6 submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating. Units from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the People’s Republic of China, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States are involved.

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Our equipment

The Royal Navy works with some of the world’s most advanced ships, aircraft, submarines and weaponry. From cutting-edge Sonar systems to the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, we’ve got everything we need to get the job done.

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Royal Marines

These elite amphibious troops are among the most renowned – and feared – fighting forces in the world. Since 1664, only the toughest have earned the right to wear the Green Beret. The Royal Marines – it’s a state of mind.

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