IT was the end of an era at Faslane last week as the Royal Navy's last Clyde-based mine hunter sailed away from the Gareloch for the final time.

The departure of HMS Penzance, the last Sandown-class minehunter based in Scotland, this marks the end of a 28-year presence of Mine Countermeasures Vessels (MCMVs) at HMNB Clyde.

Captain Elaine Boyd, captain of the Base, paid tribute to HMS Penzance and the MCM community.

Helensburgh Advertiser: Captain Elaine Boyd addresses Naval Base staff and crew of HMS Penzance at farewell ceremony

She said: "For over 28 years, there has been a permanent presence of Mine Countermeasure Vessels at HM Naval Base Clyde, and today, HMS Penzance sailing marks the final departure.

“During that time, strong ties and working relationships have been forged with the mine warfare community and while we say goodbye to HMS Penzance, we look forward to building on those connections with the new autonomous Mission System Teams who have picked up the mantle.

“Mine warfare will continue to be part of Clyde’s story and today I would like to thank HMS Penzance for her contribution to this and for her 25 years of dedicated service.”

Helensburgh Advertiser: Commanding Officer of HMS Penzance, Lt Cdr Simon Henderson

The ship was launched by Princess Michael of Kent in March 11, 1997 at the Vosper Thornycroft yard in Woolston, near Southampton.

Over the years, she completed numerous deployments, including operations in the Gulf.

The Royal Navy said during her first deployment in 2014, she spent a total of 7,500 hours at sea, covering over 34,000 miles.

HMS Penzance has played a crucial part in global maritime security while operating in UK waters and participating in multinational exercises.

Helensburgh Advertiser: HMS Penzance as she sets off from the Clyde

During her final tour of the UK, HMS Penzance hosted various dignitaries including the Mayor of Douglas, the Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Man, and the Douglas Lifeboat Crew.

She also took part in the Sea Bangor Festival in Northern Ireland which aimed to educate visitors about maritime mine threats.

The Royal Navy said the ship will enter her final docking period in Rosyth while her remaining crew members continue to man the last ship in the class, HMS Bangor, based in Bahrain.

The next chapter in the Naval Base Clyde is the arrival of the RFA Stirling Castle.

This will expand operational capability, working alongside autonomous mine-hunting systems.