Mersey serenaded on stop-off

Jim Booth lays a wreath on The Copp Memorial on Hayling Island in 2015 

Picture: Malcolm Wells (150701-4775)

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PORTSMOUTH sailors aboard HMS Mersey were serenaded into port on the latest stop of their Caribbean deployment.

Members of the Band of Colombian Navy greeted the River-class patrol ship and her ship’s company as it arrived in Cartagena.

After two weeks of patrols in the western Caribbean on the lookout for drug-runners, the Portsmouth-based warship paid her first visit to South America.

Mersey welcomed a number of Colombian guests, including sailors from the ARC 20 de Julio – a patrol vessel similar to Mersey – and Rear Admiral Simon Ancona, Assistant Chief of Staff Defence Engagement.

Ten Mersey sailors had the chance to look around a miniature semi-submersible craft seized by the Colombian Navy that was used by drug smugglers to sneak narcotics along the coastline towards Nicaragua and Honduras while others visited Cartagena.