The Chatham in Palma yesterday.


A Royal Navy frigate sailed into Palma yesterday as flagship of a NATO force which is conducting exercises in the Mediterranean. The Chatham is the lead ship of the force drawn from numerous NATO navies including Spain, Greece, Germany, Turkey, Italy and the United States. NATO's Standing Naval Force Mediterranean, is naturally at a high state of readiness especially as the attacks on the United States means that NATO has invoked its article Number Five, which is basically legislation which states that an attack on one NATO member is an attack on all. NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson was quoted as saying that NATO would support any action after seeing and analysing the evidence which the United States has compiled against Bin Laden. The word from the Task Group in Palma yesterday was that their normal deployment would continue but they remained at short notice and could be involved in supporting action if is ordered. The force was involved in NATO operations in Kosovo and Bosnia. The ships, which are accompanied by various support vessels, will remain moored at the Dique del Oeste until Saturday when they will sail out to conduct exercises in Mediterranean waters. For the crew of Chatham sailing on Saturday will mean that they will miss the England v. Greece vital World Cup qualifier which has caused some sadness among the crew who were looking forward to watching the big game on the island.