British warship HMS Queen Elizabeth will dock at Limassol port on June 30, when a range of activities is planned “to showcase and develop the strong and dynamic UK-Cyprus defence partnership”, the British High Commission said on Monday.
“Following a busy period of operations, it gives me huge pleasure to bring HMS Queen Elizabeth, the largest warship ever built for the Royal Navy, to Limassol for a five-day visit,” Commanding Officer Captain Angus Essenhigh OBE said.
Having departed from Portsmouth on May 22, the carrier will make her second stop in Cyprus after leaving port from Sicily, and will be joined in Cypriot waters by a Dutch frigate, HNLMS Evertsen, and a US destroyer, USS The Sullivans.
During her time in Cyprus, HMS Queen Elizabeth will host representatives from the Cypriot government, the National Guard, and the security and defence sectors, who will have the opportunity to learn more about her weaponry and interact with some 1,600 personnel serving onboard.
“The Carrier Strike Group’s visit underlines the importance of the close defence and security relationship between Cyprus and the UK,” British bases administrator and commander of the British forces in Cyprus General Rob Thomson said.
“This deployment through the region shows the UK’s commitment to maintain a secure and stable Eastern Mediterranean.”
The visit will build upon last summer’s Royal Navy deployment which, led by HMS Albion, participated in Cyprus’ seventh annual Nemesis crisis management exercise and carried out an extensive joint training programme with the National Guard and other local partners.
The carrier’s personnel will also participate in joint training exercises with British forces in Cyprus, including the Regional Standby Battalion 2 Yorks, and will get the opportunity to train in the British bases and take part in sports and recreational activity during their time ashore.
“Many of my sailors are experiencing their first deployment and are excited to explore this beautiful country with its long history and rich culture,” Captain Essenhigh added.
“I look forward to joining the captain and ship’s company to welcome on board a wide range of our Cypriot friends and partners during the course of her stay here, and to building further the strong bonds of friendship between our two countries,” said British High Commissioner, Stephen Lillie.