SAILORS on board HMS Daring have become the first to sail one of the Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyers to China.
The warship has become the first of its class to visit the country, as the Portsmouth-based ship resumes her planned deployment after diverting to the Philippines to provide typhoon disaster relief.
She was also the first Royal Navy vessel to enter the People’s Republic in five years.
Those on board hosted an evening reception, held an anti-piracy conference, and invited China-based UK businesses on board.
Commander Angus Essenhigh is HMS Daring’s commanding officer.
He said: ‘Although ship visits to China are infrequent, we hope HMS Daring’s visit is the first of many such interactions between our militaries.
‘We share similar global challenges such as counter-piracy, preventing conflict, protecting our citizens overseas, and supporting United Nations peacekeeping efforts.
‘We are looking forward to developing our navy-to-navy links.’
On a more solemn note, HMS Daring’s ship’s company took part in a service of commemoration for gunboat HMS Peterel.
HMS Peterel was sunk on the second day of the war with Japan on December 8, 1941.
The ship was based in Shanghai, near to where HMS Daring was berthed, and her mixed Royal Navy and Chinese crew fought bravely against overwhelming odds before her commander was forced to abandon ship.
HMS Daring’s detachment of musicians from the Royal Marines Band also took some time to perform at the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower, which rises 468m above the city.
The ship arrived in central Shanghai last week.
Her ship’s company are two-thirds of the way through a nine-month deployment.
They were taking part in an exercise with Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia, when she was retasked and send to the Philippines to deliver aid after Typhoon Haiyan hit the region.
Portsmouth-based HMS Illustrious later took over from the destroyer, allowing her crew to continue with their planned deployment.
HMS Daring left Portsmouth in May this year.
She is the first of the six Type 45 destroyers built for the Royal Navy, all of which are based in the city.