SAILORS on board a Portsmouth warship have become the first to visit a major Vietnamese port.
The Portsmouth-based Type 45 destroyer is continuing the trend after becoming the first of her class to visit China earlier this month.
The visit comes amid the development of a relationship between the UK and Vietnam, and the milestone of 40 years of diplomatic relations between the countries.
Commander Angus Essenhigh is the commanding officer of HMS Daring.
He said: ‘As Daring enters her inaugural visit to Vietnam, I am excited by the opportunity to welcome the Vietnamese Navy to further strengthen the bond between our navies.
‘Our common role in protecting sea lanes and ensuring the freedom of maritime trade is so vital to both of our nations’ interests.’
A partnership agreement was signed in 2010 between Vietnam and the UK, followed by a defence co-operation memorandum of understanding signed in 2011.
HMS Daring, the first of six new Type 45 destroyers, is continuing her nine-month deployment around the world.
She has already clocked up more than 30,000 miles by carrying out regional visits and military exercises in the Atlantic, the eastern seaboard of the USA, the Pacific, Australasia, and the South China Sea.
As reported in The News, the destroyer was also called away from planned duties to provide humanitarian aid to the Philippines.
The last visit by a Royal Navy ship to Vietnam was in 2006, when HMS Echo called in to Ho Chi Minh City.
HMS Daring will remain at sea over the Christmas period.
Lieutenant Commander Shatadeep ‘Tush’ Chatterjee, 37, from Portchester, is the ship’s marine engineering officer.
He said: ‘We traditionally drink champagne and eat pork pies for breakfast [at home] and then it’s a traditional roast dinner and a good walk around Old Portsmouth and the bracing sea frost.
‘Christmas is a time to spend with family and friends. I am lucky to have a great family and some awesome friends.
‘I will miss not being with my wife and our son but I will be happy in the knowledge they will spend Christmas with family.’