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HMS Richmond rocks Rotterdam in visit to Netherlands’ second city

HMS Richmond lit up at night in Rotterdam
11 July 2023
Around 65,000 ships have sailed in and out of the world’s busiest port this year... but only one (to date) has flown the White Ensign.

Hot on the heels of Britain and the Netherlands celebrating half a century of close military ties between their two amphibious forces, HMS Richmond paid a short visit to Rotterdam to further cement those links.

Rather than a berth in the rather drab container port (Europoort Rotterdam) at the mouth of the Nieuw Maas, Richmond sailed 18 miles up river to a prime berth at the city’s cruise terminal, next to the impressive Erasmus Bridge (known locally as ‘The Swan’ due to its distinctive shape).

Once alongside, Richmond hosted a sizeable group of diplomats from NATO nations – the visit came ahead of the alliance’s two-day summit in Vilnius which begins today.

The deputy head of Lithuania’s embassy in The Hague joined counterparts from Belgium, Canada, Ukraine and the UK for lunch, tour of the frigate and a discussion of geo-political events… with the emphasis understandably being Ukraine.

The diplomatic visitors offered the sailors some fascinating insights into ongoing support Ukraine is receiving – and underlined NATO unity.

“It was great to welcome this high-performing Royal Naval warship to Rotterdam and learn more about what she does, along with my colleagues from Lithuania, Belgium, Ukraine and Canada,” Lucy Ferguson, the UK’s Deputy Head of Mission (effectively Deputy Ambassador) told the frigate’s Commanding Officer Commander Christopher L'Amie.

For his ship’s company, the Rotterdam visit was a reward after a hectic spring which has seen Richmond come through the Royal Navy’s demanding Operational Sea Training off Plymouth, represent the Service at Armed Forces Day in Falmouth and patrol home waters.

Despite being flattened in World War 2 – the city is a byword for destruction by wartime bombing like Coventry, Hamburg and Dresden – in recent decades Rotterdam has earned a reputation for cutting-edge architecture.

And for a good number of the ship’s company it was their first overseas port visit – which they fully exploited.

“Rotterdam was my first foreign run ashore with the Royal Navy, and definitely didn’t disappoint,” said Sub Lieutenant Karl Britnell. “Everyone was really friendly and made us feel very welcome. I spent the first night exploring Rotterdam with the wardroom, and cycled around Amsterdam the second. All in all, good food, good weather and great people.”

IT specialist Engineering Technician Adam Tucker added: “I really enjoyed my run ashore in Rotterdam. A highlight was mooring up next to the Erasmus Bridge and visiting the Markthal.

“The food and the culture were great with lots of things to do and see. Overall it was a fantastic run ashore.”

Richmond is now heading into a period of maintenance and summer leave for her 180-plus sailors, before returning to front-line duties in the autumn on national tasking.

The food and the culture were great with lots of things to do and see. Overall it was a fantastic run ashore.

Engineering Technician Adam Tucker

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