The Portsmouth-based helicopter carrier, HMS Illustrious has passed through the Suez Canal and is steaming her way across the Mediterranean for her delayed return home, since she was diverted to the typhoon-hit Philippines for relief operations.
The warship has 3,600 miles to go before she arrives home later this month and has completed two-thirds of her way back from the Far East.
During her transit though the Suez, Lusty was joined by British and Egyptian dignitaries, including the UK’s Ambassador to Egypt James Watt, Britain’s Defence Attaché Capt Simon Brand RN, Admiral Mohab Mamish, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, Rear Admiral Ashraf Atwa, the Naval Base Commander Port Said; Rear Admiral Mohammed Barraya, Naval Base Commander Suez and Capt Mohamed Ibrahim of the Egyptian Navy.
Their visit served as an opportunity to reinforce the close working relationships between the Suez Canal Authority, the Egyptian Navy and the Royal Navy in ensuring safe transit of the canal. The group also toured HMS Illustrious, with discussion focussing on recent operations in the Philippines.
Before heading to her homport, HMS Illustrious had called into Singapore to replenish food, fuel and essential stores and to allow the ship’s company time to rest before continuing their journey home.
Naval Today Staff, January 3, 2014; Image: RN