MoD says HMS Liverpool is up to the job

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THE Ministry of Defence has dismissed reports that a navy destroyer has broken down off the coast of Libya.

A spokeswoman said the Type 42 destroyer, HMS Liverpool, is putting in at the Italian island of Sicily – but only for routine maintenance.

It comes after reports at the weekend suggested the Portsmouth-based ship had suffered a second break-down in two months.

Commander Colin Williams, Captain of HMS Liverpool, denied that some of the crew were unhappy with her performance.

He said: ‘I am absolutely confident in my ship and her crew.

‘We are working very hard just 10 miles off the Libyan coast and are able to do this because we are all 100 per cent sure that the ship is up to the job.’

The 30-year-old ship has been heavily involved in fighting Colonel Gaddafi’s forces.

Last month, HMS Liverpool intercepted four small boats and fired on them to force them back into Zlitan harbour.

In May it won an intense gun battle with the Libyan leader’s troops.

Liverpool left Portsmouth at the end of March to relieve the Type 22 frigate HMS Cumberland.

She is joined off the coast of Libya by HMS Ocean and HMS Bangor.

The 4,800-ton destroyer is due to be decommissioned next year.