HMS Diamond’s boarding team conducted their final training exercise before tackling the illegal flow of weapons to Libya.
The destroyer chose HMS Enterprise as her prey; the survey ship took a brief break from her mission helping to rescue migrants alongside other European warships.
DOWN the hatch.
A Royal Marine peers down a ship’s ladder with HMS Diamond looming in the distance as the destroyer’s elite boarding team conducted their final drill before tackling smuggling off Libya.
The Type 45 chose survey ship-turned-lifesaver HMS Enterprise as the last vessel on which to practise before shifting to live operations.
Diamond left Portsmouth in August for a short stint relieving RFA Mounts Bay off the coast of the troubled North African state as part of the EU’s Operation Sophia.
There are two strands to Sophia – the highly-publicised rescue of migrants trying to cross from North Africa to southern Europe on overcrowded and unsafe craft; and the much-less-publicised prevention of the flow of illegal arms to Libya by sea.
The latter role will demand commandos and sailors from the Type 45 potentially scouring vessels from mast to keel, bow to stern – searches which can take many hours.
Enterprise stood in for one such suspicious vessel and ten Royal Marines (the green team) and 15 sailors (blue) were sent across to inspect.
“Diamond’s deployment on this mission demonstrates just how versatile the Type 45 is,” explained Commanding Officer Cdr Marcus Hember.
“We are able to monitor the airspace and situation over the entire Libyan coast, whilst at the same time conducting boarding operations to stop the flow of illegal arms into the country.”