Plastic warship HMS Ramsey leaves Faslane for Gulf
A Royal Navy warship that was made from plastic rather than metal to avoid triggering mines was due to set sail to the Gulf from its base at Faslane.
HMS Ramsey was made from glass-reinforced plastic so can get near mines where other Navy ships cannot.
The 600-tonne Sandown class minehunter is used to clear safe passages as it does not send out the signals that metal vessels do.
It is heading east of the Suez Canal, where it will stay for four years.
The relatively small vessel, measuring only 52-metres in length, also carries some of the most modern sonar equipment in the world.
Its hull does not trigger the sophisticated echoes sent out by modern mines, but it can find the mines and clear the way for other larger warships to follow.'Great adventure'
The equipment on Sandowns are also capable of mapping the sea bed and detecting objects that have recently moved.
HMS Ramsey's 36-strong crew will rotate every six months but the vessel, managed from Faslane on the Clyde, will be operational the entire time.
Captain, Lt Cdr Alex Bush, said: "We are about to embark on a great adventure which will be a fantastic experience for the crew.
"In a ship as small as Ramsey we all have to work together to get the job done properly - but what a job that is - clearing the seaways for other ships to follow."
He added: "You must remember that 95% of Britain's trade is still done by sea.
"This is the Royal Navy's way of playing its part in keeping those sea passages safe for trade as well as for our bigger warships.
"Those ships, with their steel hulls, couldn't go into action without our clearing the way for them first."
Friends and family of the crew will wave the ship off from Faslane as a flotilla of tugs spout water.