THOUSANDS of people filed on board a Portsmouth-based minehunter during a naval celebration.
HMS Brocklesby was in Rotterdam representing the UK at World Port Days, a three-day celebration of the sea.
During the event, the ship welcomed on board more than 4,000 people and was the only foreign ship at the show.
Able Seaman Martin ‘Nev’ Longbottom said: ‘We were all amazed by just how many people were interested in coming on board the ship.
‘A large proportion of visitors were Dutch schoolchildren who’d been set an assignment to find out basic facts and figures about the ships at the event.
‘The children certainly kept us all on our toes with their questions about the ship.’
The next day, the ship hosted the head of the Royal Netherlands Navy, Vice-Admiral Matthieu Borsboom.
He was keen to hear about Brocklesby’s contribution to operations off Libya in 2011, when she found and destroyed a mine laid by pro-Gaddafi forces.
Vice-Adml Borsboom’s daughter also served in the Libya mission, on board a Dutch minehunter. He was given a tour of the Hunt-class ship and shown all aspects of life on board.
Able Seaman (Diver) Lee Harris-Joce said: ‘It was great to be able to talk to the head of a foreign navy.
‘The admiral was genuinely very interested in the job I do on board.’
Although World Port Days was a busy event for the crew, those on board found the time to make the most of their surroundings and visit parts of the Netherlands.
As Brocklesby left Rotterdam, her crew lined the side of the ship in their dress uniforms to bid the watching crowds farewell.