HMS Liverpool to remain in Libya until November

ON DUTY HMS Liverpool
ON DUTY HMS Liverpool
HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives in Portsmouth            Picture: PA

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SAILORS on board HMS Liverpool have been told they could be stationed off Libya until November as she continues to battle Colonel Gaddafi’s troops.

The Portsmouth-based warship has been ordered to stay in the area for longer as bloody fighting between the dictator’s forces and rebels enters a sixth month.

The Type 42 destroyer, which has been on patrol close to the front line since April and was due to return next month, has been fired on six times by Gaddafi’s fighters – most recently last Thursday.

But the ship’s captain Commander Colin Williams said his sailors are far from weary.

He said: ‘Our resolve is as strong as it has ever been.

‘The ship is performing well, rising to the challenge and we’re proud of what we have achieved.’

Liverpool is firing on shore batteries to provide cover for Apache attack helicopters flying from HMS Ocean to bomb Gaddafi-held positions in Zlitan, 100 miles from the capital Tripoli.

The ship recently took a break in Taranto, Italy, before returning to front-line duties.

Cdr Williams said: ‘We went into Taranto for some well-earned leave and maintenance and now we’re right back in the thick of it.

‘The deployment has been extended now and we are here until some time early in November.’

Within days of returning to Libyan waters, Liverpool again came under attack from rocket fire which fell short of its target.

Cdr Williams said: ‘There has definitely been an increase in our operational tempo and, similarly, the pro-Gaddafi regime seems more inclined to fire on us at sea.

‘What we are seeing is the rebels pushing pro-Gaddafi forces away from the city of Misrata and that’s such a positive thing for us because it shows what we are doing is having tangible results on the ground. Life for normal Libyan people there is returning to normality, or as close to normality as it can given the circumstances.’