Crowds gather to greet the return of HMS Mersey

HMS Mersey arriving into Portsmouth Credit: ITV news

Crowds in Portsmouth gathered to welcome the return of HMS Mersey after its deployment for over a year.

The ship left Portsmouth last January and sailed the Caribbean before heading to the Mediterranean and then the Aegean.

Crowds filled with friends and family wave the ship in Credit: ITV news

During its time away HMS Mersey sailed 48,000 miles and visited 32 ports in 19 countries over three continents.

It has used two million litres of diesel which is equivalent to the average family car driving 647 times around the world, or to the moon and back 30 times.

Her role in the North Atlantic was to provide security and reassurance to the UK's overseas territories in the Caribbean. Whilst on counter narcotics patrols with the US Coast Guard, HMS Mersey helped seize £12 million worth of cocaine off the coast of Nicaragua.

The second half of Mersey's deployment saw her head to the Aegean Sea - via a stopover in Gibraltar - to support the NATO-led operation to combat the migration crisis.

HMS Mersey helped to seize cocaine worth £12 million Credit: ITV news

Like many of the crew members, Steward Amy Binns has had a busy time on board but it was a joyful experience being reunited with friends and family on shore.

Commander Will Peters is proud of all the work undertaken by crew members over the 13 months away.