We are sure that the sight of HMS Cumberland arriving dockside in the Libyan port of Benghazi was a welcome one for all those waiting to be evacuated.
Yesterday the Royal Navy got on with doing what it does – dealing with difficult situations in a calm and professional manner.
The importance of HMS Cumberland’s role in getting British nationals out of crisis-hit Libya can not be under-estimated.
When you are in trouble abroad you expect that help will come. For hundreds of Britons stuck in an ever-worsening situation, that help came in the form of a Type 22 frigate.
And to the credit of this particular ship’s crew, help wasn’t just on hand. It was cheerfully ready, good-humouredly willing and more than able to assist. For those who had already been through so much that will have been appreciated.
We are sure the crew of HMS York, currently docked at Gibraltor but ready to be re-tasked if necessary, would respond with just as much enthusiasm.
Questions have been asked about the government’s response to this crisis but Cumberland’s role, and York’s potential response, both illustrate the same point – we need our Royal Navy.
Crucially, we need our navy to have the right amount of ships, the right amount of sailors and the right amount of support at its disposal to guarantee it can react to whatever conflict the world may throw up.
As the tension in Libya has continued to grow, it has become apparent that the government can rely on the Royal Navy, not just in times of war, but also in times of concern.
Without HMS Cumberland, those 100 or so nationals might still be sitting in Benghazi, desperately hoping that help was at the very least on its way.
No one can predict how the uprising in Libya will end or how much more blood-shed there will be before that happens.
But all those with loved ones in the country will be pleased the Royal Navy was there on that day – and that should not be taken for granted.