Gibraltar Squadron patrol boat HMS Sabre slipped the bonds of the Rock to make the short trip to Morocco.
She carried out joint training with the Moroccan Navy, while her sailors paid their respects to a dozen Commonwealth WW2 dead buried in St Andrew’s Church.
PATROL boat HMS Sabre sailed 12 times further than normal when she broke the bonds that tie her to the waters around Gibraltar and cross to North Africa.
The fast craft – top speed 37 mph – typically patrols Gibraltar’s territorial waters alongside her sister Scimitar, various RIB inflatables and police craft.
With those waters only stretching about four miles from the shores of the British territory, the Gibraltar Squadron boats rarely lose sight of the Rock.
On only his second day in command of Sabre, Lt James Myhill had to negotiate the Strait of Gibraltar – used by around 200 large merchant vessels daily – to make the three-dozen-mile passage to Tangier for some combined training with the Royal Moroccan Navy – both tabletop and real – and an act of remembrance.
Defence Attaché Lt Col Charlie Warner RA, members of the British ex-pat community and Chief Superintendent Rob Allen of the Gibraltar Defence Police joined Sabre’s half a dozen sailors at St Andrew’s Church for a service of thanksgiving and remembrance for Commonwealth WW2 dead, followed by a wreathlaying at the war grave cemetery in central Tangier
Lt Myhill shared some of his theoretical tactical training with Moroccan sailors, discussed maritime security operations and explained how the Royal Navy manages open-source shipping information.
The weekend visit closed with Sabre heading back towards Gib in company with the Moroccan patrol boat P107 as the two fast craft practised attacking each other, before parting as friends – with an invite to the Gibraltar Squadron to return to Tangier in 2017.
“The opportunity to refresh and strengthen the enduring relationship between the Royal Moroccan Navy and the Royal Navy has been a privilege,” Sabre’s Commanding Officer said.
“We share territory within eight nautical miles of one another and given the importance of the Strait of Gibraltar as an international conduit of trade, this sort of tactical development and sharing of ideas amongst naval officers is key.”