PORTLAND’s namesake warship visited Nigeria on its latest adventure.
The frigate HMS Portland left the UK last month for a seven-month mission in the South Atlantic carrying out maritime security operations including counter-narcotics and anti-piracy patrols.
The ship, closely linked with Weymouth and Portland and includes some Dorset crew, is covering huge distances and was last in Cape Verde working with the coastguard.
It then sailed to Nigeria to help with ‘defence diplomacy’ in the region and welcomed many guests onboard.
The ship conducted training with the Nigerian Navy, hosted a Security Forum in support of United Kingdom Trade and Industry and a maritime security conference.
A team of sailors and Royal Marines from HMS Portland also conducted training with Nigerian sailors.
The training included fire fighting, damage control and maritime boarding and search techniques.
Sailors from both navies also enjoyed a social event held at the Western Naval Command Headquarters in Lagos.
Leading Physical Training Instructor Matthew O’Brian worked with his Nigerian colleagues, assisting with the running of a fitness class and exchanging ideas to ensure that sailors remain “fit to fight and fit for life”.
He said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to train with instructors from the Nigerian Navy and was impressed with the fitness level of the class that I instructed, in temperatures that reached 28 degrees.”
Rear Admiral S.I. Alade, Flag Officer commanding the Nigerian Western Naval Command commented on the Nigerian Navy’s shared heritage and close working relationships.
He said: “We have enjoyed working with our Royal Navy partners. Nigeria’s Navy is an off shoot of the Royal Navy and we continue to work closely.”
A capability demonstration was held onboard HMS Portland which enabled the ship’s company to show the versatility and flexibility of the ship to a wide range of visitors. The event concluded with a ceremonial sunset ceremony.
The salute was taken by Rear Admiral Alade, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria Dr Andrew Pocock and HMS Portland’s Commanding Officer, Commander Sarah West.
Dr Pocock said: “HMS Portland’s presence was a demonstration of continuing RN capability and deployability, which is a considerable boost to efforts to contribute to regional security and stability.”