Skip to content
Recruiting now.Explore navy careers

Dutch mark six decades of success training with Royal Navy

22 October 2021
The British and Dutch Navies today celebrated 60 years of joint training with a ceremony in Plymouth aboard the latest ship to benefit.

Since the autumn of 1961, the Royal Dutch Navy has put its faith in a Royal Navy-led team to prepare its warships – 168 to date – for whatever operations they might face around the world.

Right now that includes HNLMS Evertsen which is an integral part of the UK’s Carrier Strike Group, sailing alongside HMS Queen Elizabeth in the Indo-Pacific.

Evertsen was prepared for that mission by the team at FOST, based in Devonport, the Royal Navy’s world-renowned training regime.

Aboard Evertsen’s sister ship De Zeven Provinciën, senior British and Dutch sailors celebrated 60 years of success – and committed to continue to work together.

The Dutch frigate is coming towards the end of her time with FOST which is preparing her for NATO duties in the new year, when she’ll become flagship of a task group operating in northern European waters.

Commander Fleet Operational Sea Training Commodore Andrew Stacey said the two nations – and navies – enjoyed “an especially close band”.

He continued: “It’s extraordinary to think that over the past 60 years FOST has trained 168 Dutch warships – an average of three ships each year. This a testament to the faith the Royal Netherlands Navy has in us, for which we are very grateful.

“I am pleased that the Dutch value FOST as the organisation of choice to deliver first-class operational sea training to its ships.”

Fleet Operational Sea Training is important for us to maintain our readiness and further improve international cooperation with NATO partners. With the support of FOST, we can guarantee and maintain the operational capability of our Fleet. Together, we stand stronger.

Cdre van den Berg, Royal Netherlands Navy

Commodore van den Berg, from the Dutch Navy’s plans section, said: “Sixty years of the Royal Netherlands Navy participating in FOST is a great milestone.

“Fleet Operational Sea Training is important for us to maintain our readiness and further improve international cooperation with NATO partners. With the support of FOST, we can guarantee and maintain the operational capability of our Fleet. Together, we stand stronger.”

The Netherlands’ long-term commitment underlines the international nature of the organisation which draws on expertise of sailors from around a dozen allies and partners and has providing training for ships from more than 20 navies down the years – many of them, like the Dutch, repeatedly sending their ships to FOST.

Fleet Operational Sea Training (until June 2020 known as Flag Officer Sea Training) prepares all Royal Navy warships – from aircraft carriers such as HMS Queen Elizabeth and the nuclear deterrent submarines down to P2000 patrol boats with just half a dozen crew – for whatever mission they might face around the world.

Over training which extends up to six weeks depending on the size/complexity of the vessel being assessed, instructors test everything sailors might face: fire, flood, handling a warship safely, through to providing disaster relief, fending off air and submarine attacks.

“FOST is a simple four-letter abbreviation, but it is a name that is synonymous with the highest standards of training and operational capability. It is respected, revered, perhaps even feared,” Commodore Stacey added.

“Sailors who have been through FOST share a common experience: long days, a lack of sleep and hard work.

“But what is really encouraging is that they all say they have learned a great deal and now feel much more confident in their ship, their shipmates and the very complex capabilities of a modern warship.”

FOST traces its roots back to World War 2 and preparing warships for the Battle of the Atlantic and the challenge of defeating the U-boat.

It adapted post-war into training all ships for the rigours of front-line operations, whatever the mission, based in Portland from 1958 until 1995 when it moved to its present home in Devonport.

Related articles

Navy News Magazine

We bring you the latest news, features and award-winning photographs from the front-line. Navy News has been reporting on all that happens in the Royal Navy and its wider community since 1954.