HAVANA – The destroyer HMS Manchester dropped anchor on Monday in the port of Havana becoming the first Royal Navy warship to visit the island since 1967, the British Embassy in the Cuban capital announced.
The Manchester’s five-day stay in Havana is part of its current duty schedule in the Caribbean and represents an opportunity to “strengthen the excellent collaboration between the UK and Cuba, particularly on the shared priorities of counter-narcotics and disaster response,” according to the announcement.
“I hope we can get to know each other better in the coming days,” said the vessel’s commander, Lt. Cmdr. Rex Cox, during a meeting with the head of the Cuban navy, Rear Adm. Carlos Alfonso Duque, the official Prensa Latina news agency said.
As the first item on its agenda, the Manchester will welcome local authorities Monday night in an event coinciding with the celebration of the 491st anniversary of the founding of Havana and it will dedicate a Ceremonial Sunset.
Lt. Cmdr. Cox will also offer a working luncheon on board to discuss the contribution of Cuba and Britain to regional efforts to fight drug trafficking.
He will place a floral offering before the statue of national hero Jose Marti in the capital’s Central Park, and part of the crew will tour the Cuban naval academy.
The ship’s agenda also includes commemorating Remembrance Day at the Commonwealth War Grave in Colon Cemetery and a special time has been dedicated for the public to visit the Manchester on Wednesday.
The Manchester sailed the Caribbean Sea for the first time in May and currently has a crew of 250 people on board, including citizens of Australia, Dominica, Fiji, Jamaica, Nepal, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Spain. EFE