HMS Portland has visited the Faroe Islands and become the first Royal Navy warship to visit the small island nation in 25 years.
The frigate visited the Faroes – half way between Norway and the Iceland – for 48 hours while taking part in an anti submarine warfare (ASW) exercise in the North Atlantic.
The short visit provided the ship’s company with a break from the 6 hours on 6 hours off routine they had been running during the exercise.
The ship berthed in Kollafjørõur, a village at the head of a fjord 13 nautical miles from the nation’s capital, Torshavn.
HMS Portland’s visit comes nearly 25 years to the day after HMS Brilliant was the last RN Warship to visit the Faroe Islands in May 1990.
Portland’s Commanding Officer, Captain Simon Asquith OBE, said: “Having been able to return to the islands and strengthen the bond between the Royal Navy and the Faroese was an honour for myself and the ship’s company.”
The approach to Faroes provided some stunning scenery with sheer cliffs rising out of the sea.
Many members of the ship’s company took the opportunity to explore the dramatic scenery.
Lieutenant Matt Freeman, Portland’s deputy weapon engineer, went for a walk up one of the lush green mountains. He said: “It was a great opportunity to get off the ship and stretch our legs. Nowhere in England looks quite like the Faroes, the rock formations, streams, and wildlife were very impressive and the view from the top of the mountain over the surrounding islands and fjords was definitely worth it.”
The population of the Faroe Islands is around 50 000 and spread across the 18 major islands that make up the archipelago.
Able Seaman Bill Sayer added: “It was an excellent visit, the islands were very dramatic and we were welcomed everywhere that we went.”
The Faroes location in the North Atlantic made it strategically important during the Battle of the Atlantic, when Britain garrisoned the islands with around 5,000 personnel to stop the Germans being able to exploit its location as a base.