British warship leaves Gibraltar for Libya zone

2nd March 2011, Comments 0 comments

A British frigate, the HMS Westminster, sailed Wednesday from Gibraltar heading for the Libya crisis zone, the military said.

The type 23 frigate, a class which is the mainstay of the Royal Navy's surface fleet, had stopped in Gibraltar in the early hours to pick up fuel and stores.

"In addition to the more usual naval items, extra medical stores plus blankets and sheets were loaded onboard," said a British military spokesman here.

HMS Westminster is to relieve HMS York, which sailed from Gibraltar at short notice Friday.

HMS York has been delivering medical supplies provided by the Swedish authorities to Libya's second city Benghazi, which is held by forces opposed to leader Moamer Kadhafi.

After she hands over in a few days' time to the frigate, the York is scheduled to return to her original task of sailing to the Falklands area as the Atlantic Patrol (South).

Gibraltar is at the western entrance to the Mediterranean, some 1,100 miles (1,700 kilometres), or more than two days' sailing, from Libya.

Britain's 13 type 23 frigates make up more than half the total frigate/destroyer force.

They typically carry MK 8 Lynx helicopters and are armed with Quad Harpoon Missile launchers, vertical launch Sea Wolf anti-missile systems, long and short-range guns, anti-submarine torpedos, and decoy launchers.

© 2011 AFP

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