On Wednesday, Vice Adm. John McAnally, national president of the Royal Naval Association, told The Times newspaper that the fact that all six of the RN's Type 45 destroyers and 12 out of 13 Type 23 frigates were in domestic ports was "unprecedented" and alarming. Other media also expressed fear that the United Kingdom might not be prepared for a potential outbreak of war.
"There is much more to the Navy than frigates and destroyers. The hugely capable RFA Mounts Bay [landing ship dock] proved her worth following Hurricane Irma, and she is still there. HMS Protector [patrol ship] provided specialist support to the search for the missing Argentine submarine San Juan, and she is still in the south Atlantic," the spokesperson said.
According to the RN, six ships are in the Persian Gulf and two are in the Mediterranean Sea. The types of ships were not specified by the Navy.
"The continuous at-sea deterrent is exactly that – continuous. We also have a frigate and patrol boat poised to operate in UK waters throughout the Christmas period – as we always do," the spokesperson said.
The Royal Navy maintained that any lull in ships' deployments was most likely due to routine maintenance and the training of additional crew.
The UK Navy faced another controversy earlier this month, as the HMS Queen Elizabeth, recently formally accepted into the fleet, was found to have a problem with a shaft seal, which reportedly resulted in leakage.
An RN spokesperson told Sputnik earlier this week that the issue was not major and would not prevent the HMS Queen Elizabeth from further sea trials.