HMS Sutherland searches vessel off Libyan coast

LIBYA HMS Sutherland
LIBYA HMS Sutherland
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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HMS Sutherland searched a merchant vessel off the coast of Libya after suspecting it was carrying weapons for pro-Gaddafi forces.

The ship is the Royal Navy’s lead vessel in the Nato operation and carries out a range of operations including the protection of civilians, territory and trade.

Royal Marines and Royal Navy sailors searched a merchant vessel in international waters close to Libya.

The suspect vessel was boarded and a search conducted.

Once satisfied the vessel was not carrying weapons it was allowed to proceed.

Commander Roger Readwin, commanding officer of HMS Sutherland, said: ‘Sutherland’s Royal Marine and Royal Navy boarding teams provide a vital capability, enforcing internationally-mandated embargoes to support the overall aim of protecting Libyan citizens.

‘This has been a highly demanding deployment but my ship’s company have proven their resilience and upheld the best traditions of the navy.

‘However, key to the success of Sutherland on operations is the dedicated and continuous support from our ever loyal network of families and friends and they have my heartfelt thanks.’

HMS Sutherland left the UK in April and since then has supported operations and exercises off Libya, the Mediterranean, Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf, including exercises with forces from the United Arab Emirates.