The Royal Navy Type 23 frigate has been there for a few weeks now, having sailed from London at short notice to support the operations off Libya.
Early on she provided some support to the non-combatant evacuation operations and has subsequently been patrolling in the Bay of Sirte, reporting the activities on the ground and in the air back to the UK authorities. In both the reporting of intelligence and as a demonstration of the UK Government’s commitment to this region she has played an important role.
Now that military action has been taken in support of UNSCR 1973, HMS Westminster is continuing to report the situation back to the UK, and is prepared for tasking to support any humanitarian or embargo operations that may be required.
She is playing an important role in deterring Colonel Gaddafi’s navy from conducting attacks against the Libyan people. Before UN Security Council Resolution 1973, their gunboats shelled a number of the coastal towns, but with Westminster, HMS Cumberland and HMS Triumph patrolling the coastal waters, there has been a very marked reluctance on the part of the Libyan Navy to venture forth since the start of the enforcement action.
HMS Westminster expects to remain engaged in a dynamic and evolving operational situation for the foreseeable future.
Commander Tim Green, HMS Westminster’s Commanding Officer, said:
We have switched quickly from official ceremonies in London to operational circumstances off Libya in very short order and with the minimum of fuss. Having assisted in non-combatant evacuation operations we are now guarding the maritime flank, protecting the Libyan people from Gaddafi’s aggression.
We are ready for combat, embargo or humanitarian operations at immediate notice. This is what the Royal Navy does and my ship and people have stepped up to the mark brilliantly.
As the Commanding Officer was speaking, the ship’s helicopter was airborne conducting maritime patrol operations, exerting the Royal Navy’s sea control over the area.
HMS Westminster also has a detachment of Royal Marines embarked ready to assist in maritime security operations, augmenting the ship’s own board and search capabilities, and is ready to enforce embargo operations in support of UNSCR 1973.