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HMS Northumberland helped feed 2.5 million in Somalia

Wednesday, March 25th 2009 - 17:45 UTC
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Devonport-based frigate HMS Northumberland docked this week in her home city for the first time in six months. The ship returned from a grueling six month deployment which saw her crew tackle pirates and deliver humanitarian aid to war-torn Somalia, in Africa.

HMS Northumberland was originally set to support the UK presence in the South Atlantic, around the Falkland Islands. However, she ended up on humanitarian duties and the counter-piracy mission Operation Atlanta, as part of the European Union's Naval Force off East Africa.

She became the force's first vessel to safely escort World Food Program (WFP) ships along the 1,500-mile Somalian coastline, littered with pirates.

The crew of the Type 23 frigate helped deliver food to the Somalian ports of Boosaaso, Berbera and Mogadishu during their 36,000-mile trip – enough to feed more than 2.5million people.

Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth described the six-month stint as a “highly successful” deployment. He said: “I am delighted that her crew has returned safely and hope they enjoy some well deserved leave following what has been a challenging and highly successful deployment.”

The ship's Commanding Officer, Commander Martin Simpson praised the crew's morale, character and ability to rise to any challenge.

“Delivering food aid was my proudest moment,” he added. “It cannot be understated. I am especially proud of my ship's company – they responded magnificently.

”HMS Northumberland and the Royal Navy can be proud that we have achieved a great deal in our six months on operations”. (Plymouth.co.uk)

Categories: Politics, International.

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