HMS Westminster gets US award for helping to protect Libyan civilians

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PORTSMOUTH-BASED warship HMS Westminster has received an award for helping to protect the Libyan people.

The Type-23 frigate was recognised by the American Armed Forces after she played a key role in deterring Colonel Gaddafi’s navy from launching attacks on civilians from the sea.

HMS Westminster’s operations in the war-torn country included dispatching her Merlin helicopter to patrol the coast and keeping a detachment of Royal Marines ready to assist teams boarding and searching other vessels.

She was first deployed to Libya on Operation Ellamy to take part in humanitarian operations and evacuate refugees, taking over from HMS York on March 4 this year.

The US Joint Operational Command Africom – the body that commands African operations – has now presented the frigate with a plaque.

It reads: ‘To the officers and crew of HMS Westminster. Thank you for your world-class support.

‘Delivering the goods when no one else could, you are truly second to none.’

Accepting the award Lieutenant Commander Nick Wood said: ‘At very short notice we sailed from the UK and quickly arrived off the Libyan coast into a dynamic and hostile environment.

‘We had a real effect whilst we were there and I am very proud to accept this recognition of our work from our most important allies.’

HMS Westminster is undergoing a maintenance period in Portsmouth and remains ready for operations.