Royal Navy warship HMS Portland pulled out all the stops to impress the President of Sierra Leone His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma during a brief visit to Freetown over the weekend.
The President was accompanied by his Minister of Justice, the Honourable Frank B Kargbo, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Honourable Dr Samura Kamara, the Minister of Defence, the Honourable Mr Alfred Palo Conteh and the British High Commissioner Peter West.
On his arrival the President inspected a guard of honour before witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the United Kingdom and Sierra Leone.
The President and his ministers then enjoyed a dinner onboard HMS Portland.
Commenting on the visit, HMS Portland’s Commanding Officer, Commander Sarah West said: “It was a great privilege to welcome His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Kargbo onboard HMS Portland.
“The United Kingdom has a lengthy and important friendship with Sierra Leone and the signing of the memorandum of understanding onboard Portland demonstrated the UK’s continuing support for the country and its people.”
HMS Portland has now sailed from Freetown to conduct further maritime security patrols off the West African coast.
The Plymouth-based Type 23 frigate is on a seven-month deployment in the Atlantic, maintaining the continuous Royal Navy presence and providing on-going protection and reassurance to British overseas colonies in the region.
As well as engaging with partner nations along the way, HMS Portland will take part in maritime security operations including counter-piracy and counter-narcotic patrols. She is due to return to the UK later this summer.
Press Release, March 13, 2014, 2014; Image: Royal Navy