THE first of three new Portsmouth-built ships bought by Brazil’s navy has set sail for Rio de Janeiro.
Amazonas departed Portsmouth Naval Base after completing sea trials off the south coast.
The Offshore Patrol Vessel, built by BAE Systems at its yard in Portsmouth, was originally made for the Trinidad and Tobago coastguard.
But the Caribbean nation axed the £150m deal in 2010 over a contractural dispute.
The Brazilian government swooped in last year and bought the three ships for £133m in a purchase that also included a licence to build more of the ships in Brazil.
BAE handed over Amazonas last month and the ship went through Flag Officer Sea Training with the Royal Navy. As the ship left Portsmouth yesterday, Nigel Stewart, commercial director of BAE Systems Maritime, said: ‘Saying farewell to the first ship in the Amazonas class is a significant stage in our ongoing relationship with the Brazilian Navy and is a source of great pride to those who worked on her.
‘We look forward to continuing our work with the Brazilian Navy to deliver the next two Ocean Patrol Vessels Apa and Araguari over the coming months.’
The Brazilian captain of Amazonas, Lt Cdr Giovani Corrêa, said: ‘The ship has proved herself to be a highly capable vessel and her crew are looking forward to the challenges of her first ocean voyage as we head to her new home in Brazil.’