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Royal Navy task force completes Libyan mission

30 September 2022
A Royal Navy task group has completed a mission to Libya as part of security operations in the Mediterranean.

HMS Albion, flagship of Littoral Response Group North – a UK force designed to react to crises in European waters – sailed into capital Tripoli on Wednesday, becoming the first Royal Navy ship to visit the port in eight years.

There, Plymouth-based Albion – the Royal Navy’s amphibious flagship – was the floating venue for engagement events with political and military figures in Libya, while sailors and Royal Marines shared expertise with personnel from the Libyan Armed Forces. 

That included delivering valuable RN training to the Libyan Navy in firefighting and damage-control techniques, engineering practices, seamanship and harbour surveying, using Albion as their classroom.

Warrant Officer 2nd Class Adam Slack, HMS Albion’s Warrant Officer Weapon Engineering, who led one of the training teams, said: “Being able to work collaboratively with the Libyan Navy has been a fantastic opportunity and one that would have been inconceivable just a few years ago. 

“I hope that in the future we will continue to work together and build a stronger maritime relationship with Libya.”

Members of the Royal Marines Band, who – as well as being world-class musicians – also provide medical expertise from one of the task force’s support ships, RFA Argus, supported events on board Albion, serenading dignitaries. 

They also played at a friendly football game between British personnel and the Libyan naval team, which the hosts narrowly won.  

Colour Sergeant Justin Tiley, of the Royal Marine Band, said: “We were delighted to be have been able to support HMS Albion as she visited Libya, and playing on the flight deck against the backdrop of Tripoli was a highlight.”

Around a hundred Libyan and foreign dignitaries were hosted aboard Albion – along with His Majesty’s Ambassador to Libya, Ms Caroline Hurdall and the Defence Senior Advisor to the Middle East , Air Marshall Martin Sampson Royal Air Force. 

During the reception the ship’s flight deck was used to host an amphibious demonstration which culminated in a traditional ceremonial sunset.

That completed the Littoral Response Group’s efforts in Libya, one of the first stops on an autumn of operations across the Mediterranean alongside NATO allies and partners.

More than a thousand sailors and Royal Marines are deployed with task group, which is made up of flagship Albion, Argus, RFA Mounts Bay and destroyer HMS Defender, plus helicopter squadrons. 

Captain Simon Kelly Royal Navy, Task Group Commander and Commanding Officer of HMS Albion, said: “Our visit to Tripoli was also a wonderful opportunity for the sailors and marines on board to interact with their counterparts in the Libyan Armed Forces. 

“During our short time alongside we conducted a wide range of activates from damage control training to delivering a number of official receptions, hosting senior Libyan political, military, and civil society figures, all reinforcing the UK’s cooperation and ongoing commitment to Libya.”

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