A £133m project has come to an end as the Brazilian Navy took possession of the final of three ships built by BAE Systems.
Araguari, an Amazonas class ocean patrol vessel, has begun a 10,000 mile journey to its home port of Natal in Brazil, making diplomatic visits to Portugal and Africa on the way.
On Saturday morning workers at BAE Systems who have been working on the project from its inception seven years-ago, waved goodbye to the Brazilian crew, some of whom have been in Portsmouth for more than a year.
Her two sister ships, Amazonas and Apa, were delivered last year and have already begun operations in Brazil.
They played an important role in the security operation for the recent visit to Brazil by Pope Francis where three million people lined the beach.
Captain Giancarllo Vilas Boas, head of the Brazilian Navy support team, said: ‘We are so proud to take part in this important project for the Brazilian Navy.
‘Being in the UK has been a very friendly experience and I hope this project is the start of a long term relationship between BAE Systems and the Brazilian Navy.’
Araguari is designed for maritime security, humanitarian relief, and search-and-rescue operations.
Nigel Stewart, commercial director at BAE Systems Maritime, said: ‘The success of this programme is testament to the strong relationship between BAE Systems and the Brazilian Navy as we worked in partnership to deliver these formidable ships.
‘Araguari performed incredibly well through sea trials so we are immensely proud to see her sailing with her first crew.
‘We’ve welcomed more than 250 members of the Brazilian Navy to the UK during this partnership and are delighted to play such an important role in growing Brazil’s naval capabilities.’
Following the ship’s handover in June, Araguari’s 80 crew members completed the Royal Navy’s prestigious Flag Officer Sea Training to prepare them for the journey and the operations they will perform in Brazil.
Apa and Araguari were constructed at BAE Systems’ Scotstoun shipyard and were completed in Portsmouth, while Amazonas was constructed in Portsmouth.