HMS Kent spent 3 days in Libya - the first time in 40 years that a Royal Navy frigate has been invited to Tripoli. During her stay, she hosted a series of events to assist the Libyan Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Interior in their efforts to rebuild essential security structures.
The visit also afforded UK Minister for International Security Strategy, Dr Andrew Murrison, an opportunity to engage with local business leaders during an event hosted aboard the warship. These efforts are part of the wider UK effort to support Libya with advisors working with Libyan colleagues in defence, police, borders and justice, helping Libya realise her full potential.
Dr Murrison said:
"It was a pleasure to return to Tripoli after my first visit, in November last year, and I was impressed with the progress that had been made in the interim period.
"The UK will continue to support the building of a new, free Libya as Prime Minister David Cameron made clear when he visited in January.
"After the successful revolution, it is natural for people to be impatient for change, but as a visitor it is often easier to see progress which may not be apparent to people on the ground."
A UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) event hosted in the ship attracted over 100 Libyan military personnel, including the heads of all 5 of the country’s armed services - the navy, army, air force, air defence, and coast guard - as well as the police.
HMS Kent’s Commanding Officer, Commander Ben Ripley, said:
"It was a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding visit for Kent with potential wider benefits for the UK.
"With the media interest, UKTI event and high level national delegations, we understood this was an important visit. I’d like to thank the people of Tripoli for giving us a very warm welcome and being such gracious hosts. Also, I’m immensely proud of my team who made it such a success."
The visit, which took place from 2 to 4 April, also gave HMS Kent’s ship’s company the time to conduct cultural awareness events, to engender a better understanding of the Libyan Navy and to compare cultural differences; the start of a long-standing relationship with the Libyan military.
From Tripoli, HMS Kent now deploys east of Suez, where she will provide a forward operating capability during the remainder of her 7-month deployment. While deployed, the ship remains configured to provide a range of tasks including counter-piracy operations, maritime security, humanitarian assistance and other defence engagement activity.
(Source: UK FCO)