EVERYTHING was shipshape and Portland fashion when a country’s leader was welcomed aboard the island’s namesake warship.
The crew of the Type 23 frigate HMS Portland pulled out all the stops to impress the President of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, during a brief stopover in the county’s capital Freetown.
HMS Portland is currently on a tour of the high seas and a flying visit to Sierra Leone was its latest adventure.
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.
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 on board HMS Portland.
The ship’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 on board 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 ship, which has close links with Weymouth and Portland, 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.
HMS Portland will also take part in maritime security operations including counter-piracy and counter-narcotic patrols.
The ship is due to return to the UK later this summer.