Canada sending frigate to help in Libya evacuation

Tue Mar 1, 2011 9:36pm EST
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada will send a frigate to the Mediterranean to help with efforts to get its citizens out of Libya, adding to the military buildup in the region following a revolt against the rule of Muammar Gaddafi.

Canada's defense department said on Tuesday the HMCS Charlottetown, which carries about 240 officers and sailors, will leave Halifax, Nova Scotia on March 2. It is expected to take about seven days to reach its destination.

"HMCS Charlottetown will augment the Canadian Forces presence already in the region supporting Government of Canada evacuation operations," it said in a statement.

"Canada stands ready to support the wider international response to the situation in Libya, including supporting humanitarian assistance efforts," it added.

Flexing its military muscle, the United States sent warships toward Libya on Tuesday as it sought to keep pressure on Gaddafi to relinquish his four-decade grip on power.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States and its NATO allies were still considering a "no-fly" zone over Libya. Canada is a member of NATO.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Hodgson; Editing by Eric Walsh)

<p>The HMCS Charlottetown sails out of Halifax, Nova Scotia, March 2, 2011. The Canadian frigate will be deployed off the coast of Lybia as part of as part of Operation Mobile. REUTERS/Paul Darrow</p>