German warships set to arrive in Portsmouth today

The three River-class patrol vessels of the Fishery Protection Squadron, HMS Mersey, HMS Severn and HMS Tyne on Exercise off the south-west coast. Picture: LA(Phot) AJ MacLeod SUS-171031-100537001

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SEVEN-HUNDRED German sailors were set to flood into Portsmouth today.

Two German navy frigates, the FGS Hessen and FGS Emden, and a 18,000-tonne supply tanker, the FGS Frankfurt Am Main, were due sail into Portsmouth Naval Base this morning.

The Nato warships will bring a total of 693 sailors into the city for the weekend.

They are due to leave the city on Monday morning.

Hessen was due to pass the Round Tower in Old Portsmouth at 9am today, followed by Emden at noon and Frankfurt Am Main at around 12.45pm.

The German task group left its base in Wilhelmshaven last month and Portsmouth is the first stop for the ships in a seven-month deployment.

A spokesman for Portsmouth Naval Base described the visit as ‘routine’.

But it is unusual for three foreign warships to visit at the same time.

They will leave Portsmouth on Monday morning between 8.45am and noon.

The vessels are also due to call into ports in Dublin, Ireland, France, Portugal, Iceland and Spain, before crossing the Atlantic to visit the US and Canada in a deployment which will see them take part in training exercises and war games with various Nato allies before returning home in July.