British warship completes 1st EU NAVAL Mission

Dec 18, 2008 - 07:57
The Royal Navy’s frigate HMS NORTHUMBERLAND has successfully completed the European Union’s (EU) first World Food Program (WFP) tasking today by safely escorting the MV SEMLOW from Mombasa in Kenya to the Somali port of Mogadishu. The WFP ship, which has fallen victim to piracy in the past, delivered enough food to feed more than 50,000 Somalis for a month, many of whom have become displaced as a result of the country’s political and military unrest.

HMS NORTHUMBERLAND, who joined the EU Anti Piracy Operation Atalanta last weekend, left Mombasa in company with MV SEMLOW last Sunday morning to escort her the 500 nautical miles, along the Somali coastline where piracy attacks are a regular occurrence.

On arrival the ship’s Commanding Officer, Commander Martin Simpson, stated "It has been a huge privilege to carry out a mission that brings so much tangible relief and benefit to the people of Somalia. The food that the MV SEMLOW carries is vital and we are pleased it has arrived safely at its destination. Asked whether he was concerned about being confronted by heavily armed pirates. Dealing with piracy is something that NORTHUMBERLAND has been actively involved in for some months, and the ship’s company are ready for any eventuality. There can be no better or more worthwhile task than supporting the safe and timely delivery of food aid to this war-torn and neglected country".

Notes to Editors

1. HMS NORTHUMBERLAND is a T23 Frigate built at Swan Hunter’s on the Tyne in North East England and launched in 1992.  Although primarily an anti-submarine warship, the ship has a wide range of capabilities.  Propelled by 2 Spey Gas turbines for sprinting, and 4 diesel engines for cruising speeds, displacing 4800 tonnes, she is 133 metres long with a top speed of approximately 28 knots and is armed with a variety of missile, torpedo and gun systems.

2.  HMS NORTHUMBERLAND has been away from the UK for almost 3 months now and will not return for at least a further 3 months.  The ship has previously been operating in the area as part of Combined Task Force 150, a group of coalition warships whose aim is to ensure lawful maritime order in and around this region.  Whilst the issue of piracy in the waters around Somalia is a major focus, the ship has also had an important role in deterring the smuggling of drugs, illegal weapons, and the brutal trade of human trafficking.