The Royal Navy flagship, HMS Bulwark is in Malta, allowing time for some crew relaxation before heading back home after more than three months at sea.

Launched in 2001, the Bulwark, an amphibious assault vessel, can carry more than 400 troops, as well as vehicles and supplies, including 31 large trucks and 36 smaller vehicles. It can also operate helicopters.

The grey beast berthed at Grand Harbour on Sunday, almost a year since her last visit. She will depart on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the German Navy Brandenburg Class Frigate, FGS Schleswig-Holstein F216, is berthed on the Cottonera side.

The two ships have been taking part in a four-month deployment, called Cougar 14, which includes amphibious and maritime exercises through the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

“We sailed through the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Gulf, exercising with all the nations in those regions,” Gavin Edward, commander weapons engineer, told Times of Malta.

“One of the most exciting parts was an exercise called Albanian Lion, where we landed troops on the beach and worked with the Albanian forces. There, we also hosted the Albanian prime minister and president.

“We sailed out from Plymouth at the end of August and will be back home mid-December, so we have been looking forward to this visit for a few weeks,” he said.

“It’s a great chance for the ship’s company and marines to relax and take some downtime as we’ve been operating at sea effectively for the past month without a break. So for now, we’ll relax and get ourselves ready for the trip back home to the UK.”

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