HMS Dauntless arrives in the Falkland Islands

HMS Dauntless leaving Cape Town, South Africa, on her way to the South Atlantic.  Images taken by Flight Commander.
HMS Dauntless leaving Cape Town, South Africa, on her way to the South Atlantic. Images taken by Flight Commander.
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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THE Royal Navy’s state-of-the-art warship HMS Dauntless has arrived in the Falkland Islands.

And The News can reveal the new £1bn destroyer has made a reassuring – if unintentional – first impression on locals.

‘She’s so powerful that her radars have been interfering with people’s TV and radio reception,’ said islander Lisa Watson.

‘Once we found out it was Dauntless there was no problem.’

The Portsmouth-based warship has dropped anchor in Mare Harbour after a choppy crossing of the South Atlantic from Africa, where she has spent the last three months.

The sight of one of the most formidable British warships ever built is a welcome one for islanders at a time of increased grandstanding between the UK and Argentina over sovereignty of the disputed territory.

A few hundred Falklands residents were immediately able to catch a closer glimpse at a cocktail party held onboard the ship.

Mrs Watson, who is editor of Penguin News newspaper on the Falklands, said: ‘I didn’t get much beyond all the gin and tonic to be honest, but she is a very impressive-looking ship and quite daunting so it’s definitely a good name for her.

‘It’s great that she’s finally here and I’m sure quite a lot of people will be visiting in the weeks and months to come.’

Dauntless’s deployment to the Falklands met with controversy earlier this year.

In February, Argentina reacted strongly after The News broke the story of the navy’s plan to send its new ship south.

The country complained to the United Nations and accused the UK of ‘militarising’ the South Atlantic – a claim denied by Prime Minister David Cameron.

The Royal Navy has continually stressed the deployment is just a routine patrol.

Mrs Watson said: ‘Argentina is always not happy about something or other. We’re entirely used to it, but it has been a little louder than usual recently.

‘Dauntless is simply replacing HMS Montrose which was here last year. It’s just that Dauntless is a new ship so of course she’s going to be more a bit more modern and powerful.’

Speaking to the local radio station, commanding officer Captain Will Warrander reportedly said he was delighted his ship had arrived in the Falklands and that his sailors were pleased to come ashore following a lumpy crossing from Africa.