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8 April 2011, 10:10
HMS Westminster has returned home to Portsmouth today (April 8th) from the Mediterranean where she has been conducting operations in support of the UK's response to the crisis in Libya.
Families turned out to welcome her home as she arrived back in the harbour.
The Type 23 frigate left the UK in February and was initially deployed to support non-combatant evacuation and humanitarian operations. She then demonstrated the flexibility of naval forces by conducting surveillance and sea denial operations in support of United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR).
Prior to the passing of UNSCR 1973, which authorised military action to safeguard the Libyan people, HMS Westminster was monitoring the activities of the Libyan Armed Forces and reporting back to the UK, providing evidence to support the negotiations at the UN. Once the resolution was passed Westminster patrolled off the coast of Benghazi ensuring that the Libyan Navy could not use the maritime flank as a means to attack the population.
Commander Tim Green, HMS Westminster's Commanding Officer, said: "I am immensely proud of what we've achieved. We saw first hand the Libyan regime's use of force against the population. We tracked the planes and saw the explosions. Gaddafi's Navy was shelling Libyan cities. Once UNSCR 1973 was passed I had the authority to take action to stop this from happening. Our presence, along with other UK assets and coalition partners, was a genuine deterrent. There is no doubt our presence in the area has saved the lives of Libyan people."
HMS Westminster will undergo a short period of maintenance and leave before returning to sea as one of the UK's high readiness ships.