Fleet of French warships sail into Portsmouth on ‘routine’ training visit

HUNDREDS of French sailors will be staying in Portsmouth over the weekend as the city is visited by an armada of vessels.

Friday, 22nd March 2019, 11:40 am
Updated Friday, 22nd March 2019, 11:46 am
Five training ships of the French Naval Training Squadron and a French Navy Frigate; La Motte Picquet arrived in Portsmouth on Friday for a routine visit. PO PHOT Dave Jenkins

Five training ships of the French Naval Training Squadron arrived at the naval base shortly after 8am this morning.

They are due to be joined by the frigate La Motte Picquet, which is expected to arrive shortly at 1.15pm.

The fleet of Léopard-class training vessels, French Naval Ship (FNS) Chacel, FNS Guépard, FNS Tigre, FNS Panthère and the FNS Lion. Léopard-class ships are all named after French frigates from the Second World War and provide platforms for future French naval officers to practice their navigation and basic seamanship skills on.

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French vessels will be in Portsmouth for several days

Captain David George, Captain of Portsmouth Naval Base, said: ‘It’s great to be able to support the French Training Squadron and French Naval Service, we hope our allies across the channel enjoy the culture and rich naval heritage that Portsmouth has to offer during their stay.’

While in Portsmouth the crews will be encouraged to soak in some city’s rich naval heritage, as they will be given free entry to the Royal Navy’s oldest commissioned warship HMS Victory as well as discounted tickets for other Historic Dockyard attractions.

Their arrival comes just a day after more than 100 foreign military officers and 160 British personnel completed a two-day training visit to the naval base.

The training vessels are Lopard-class French Naval Ship (FNS) Chacel, FNS Gupard, FNS Tigre, FNS Panthre and the FNS Lion. They will be joined by a French frigate.