Nato fleet of warships to sail into Portsmouth

HMS Ramsey
HMS Ramsey
British military dog Mali who has received the PDSA Dickin Medal, the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross with his current handler Corporal Daniel Hatley

NATIONAL: Mali the dog gets top military honour

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PORTSMOUTH is to welcome an international fleet of warships into its harbour tomorrow morning.

Minehunters from five different nations, plus a German support ship, will spend six days at the home of the Royal Navy to refuel and give crews a break ashore.

The first ship to arrive at 8.40am is the replenishment vessel FGS Donua. She will be followed at five-minute intervals by HMS Ramsey (UK), HNOMS Otra (Norway), BNS Primula (Belgium), FGS Dillingen (Germany) and HNLMS Vlaardingen (the Netherlands).

Commander David Hilton, base services manager at Portsmouth Naval Base, said all the crews were excited to visit the city.

‘We often get individual ships from foreign navies visit Portsmouth, but it is not so common to get a group of vessels like this,’ he added.

The fleet – and its 250 sailors – has been operating together since February as one of Nato’s two permanent mine countermeasures groups.

It has been patrolling the waters of northern Europe carrying out minehunting exercises and dealing with unexploded ordnance from last century’s conflicts.

The ships will begin to leave the city at 9am on Tuesday next week.