Frigate HMS Argyll joins forces with former British warship after visit to Pakistan

HMS Argyll rolled back the years off the coast of Pakistan when she joined forces with a former British warship – rounding off a high-profile visit to the Commonwealth nation.

Still going strong 45 years after she was launched, and a quarter of a century after she was sold to Pakistan, is Falklands veteran frigate HMS Ambuscade, one of the backbone warships of the Asian state’s fleet now known as PNS Tariq.

The two vessels linked up off Karachi having already conducted training alongside in the port city – training which should pave the way for more interaction between the two navies, especially Pakistan’s burgeoning customs and border force.

While in Karachi, HMS Argyll – three months into a nine-month deployment to the Gulf and Far East – hosted 150 VIPs at an official reception and capability demonstration, bringing together senior British and Pakistan government officials from Islamabad, naval officers, members of the British High Commission staff and local dignitaries from in and around Karachi.

 

Pakistan has made every effort to provide a fantastic welcome to HMS Argyll

Commander Toby Shaughnessy, HMS Argyll's Commanding Officer

British High Commissioner Thomas Drew attended several events on board along with the Commander of the Pakistani Fleet, Rear Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi.

Mr Drew led an act of remembrance at the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Karachi, flanked by ceremonial guards from the UK and Pakistan Navies.

Wreaths were laid by the High Commissioner, Argyll’s Commanding Officer Commander Toby Shaughnessy, and a delegation from the Pakistan Navy in memory of the 642 souls – just four of them sailors – buried in the graveyard during World War 2.

“It was an honour to be able to show our respects to those members of the Commonwealth that have given their lives in service before us,” said Able Seaman (Warfare Specialist) Zac Jones, part of the ceremonial guard at the wreath laying.

And the UK Department for International Trade made use Argyll’s visit to promote closer ties between Pakistani and UK industry.

Away from formal business, Argyll’s Pakistan Naval Academy hosts laid on cricket and football matches against the visitors and triumphed in both games which were doggedly contested despite the summer heat.

“Pakistan has made every effort to provide a fantastic welcome to HMS Argyll,” said Commander Shaughnessy.

“Throughout the many activities we have conducted together during this visit, the Pakistanis have matched the aspiration for our two Navies to share ideas and come together to enhance our relations.

“The Pakistanis have been gracious hosts and the fondness with which they maintain their connections with the UK Royal Navy was continuously evident.

“And our visit also demonstrates that Britain values its commitment to our relationship with Pakistan and that the UK wants to continue to make it stronger.”

Once at sea Argyll, which is based in Plymouth, treated Tariq’s crew to demonstrations involving her Wildcat helicopter, before the two warships carried out an air defence exercise against a Pakistan Navy maritime patrol aircraft, and conducted joint surface manoeuvres.