By Tom Westcott.
Tripoli, 5 July 2013:
British warship HMS Echo docked in Tripoli yesterday, after spending a fortnight training members of the . . .[restrict]Libyan Navy in modern underwater surveying methods.
Seventeen members of the Libyan Navy’s hydrographic department, including three senior officers, have had hands-on experience using the ship’s state-of-the-art sonar surveying methods.
HMS Echo, a vessel designed to collect data for both military and civilian use, has been recording and charting deep waters off the coast of Al Khoms and Tripoli. In shallower waters, Echo’s smaller survey launch has been taking detailed oceanographic data from inside the two ports.
Using sonar, the surveys have been recording depths and identifying obstacles that have not previously been charted. The Port of Khoms has never been surveyed before and the information held for Tripoli Port is not up-to-date.
“The survey is very useful for the Libyan Navy,” officer Fathi Salheen told the Libya Herald, “especially the depths of water in the ports because this is useful for any vessels hoping to berth in either port.”
Salheen said the training has been very beneficial. He added that it had been particularly good to see modern equipment and technologies in use and learn correct procedures.
Working with the Libyan Navy had also been excellent training for the UK crew, Echo’s Commander Matt Syrett told the Libya Herald. “This has been very interesting for us,” he said, “because we are usually working with existing charts.”
There is no complete chart of Libya’s territorial waters and the information currently held by the navy was mostly collected in the 1980s, and is incomplete. HMS Echo’s surveying will leave the Libyan Navy with a complete and detailed survey charting 283 square kilometres of territorial waters. [/restrict]