Having temporarily detached from the Cougar deployment and the Responsive Force Task Group (RFTG), HMS Sutherland relieved her sister ship HMS Iron Duke off the coast of Libya at the weekend to support fellow Royal Navy and NATO units in the Mediterranean.
En route to Sutherland’s new tasking, the ship’s Commanding Officer, Commander Roger Readwin, said:
My fighting clan of highly trained and capable sailors has been busy today putting our systems and drills through their paces in preparation for this important mission. We look forward to working with our NATO allies to deliver part of the Royal Navy’s contribution to the Operation.
I would also like to extend my sincere gratitude to the families and friends of Sutherland, for their continued loyal support which, once again, will be very much appreciated.
Under NATO command, HMS Sutherland will assist in enforcing the arms embargo, help protect civilians under threat of attack and ultimately support the current mandate given by UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973; she will also guard against threats to the flow of vital humanitarian assistance.
HMS Sutherland is capable of projecting maritime power in support of a wide range of operations including the protection of civilians, territory and trade.
Always ready for operational tasking, HMS Sutherland left the UK in April as part of the Responsive Force Task Group that includes HMS Albion and HMS Ocean. Since then she has supported operations and exercises off Libya, and in the Mediterranean, Red Sea and the Gulf, including exercises with the United Arab Emirates as part of Exercise Sea Khanjar.
HMS Iron Duke is now making her return to the UK following a six-month deployment to the Gulf. She relieved HMS Liverpool on the NATO-led operations off Libya on her return journey last week, and the ship and her company can expect a warm welcome home from friends and family at Portsmouth on Thursday, 28 July 2011.