Chinese Navy pay visit to Portsmouth

Officers from the People’s Liberation Army (Navy) were invited to the Home of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth as part of a wider visit to the UK.

Five officers from the Chinese delegation were given a tour of Type 23 frigate HMS Iron Duke while another 11 were challenged to a football match at HMS Temeraire – the Home of Royal Navy Sport.

The personnel are from the Chinese 26th Counter Piracy Task Group and work on board three warships - Huanggang 577, Yangzhou 578 and Gaoyouhu 966  – which arrived for a five-day visit to London on Monday.

They were welcomed on board HMS Iron Duke by Commander of the Portsmouth Flotilla Commodore Peter Sparkes and the ship’s Commanding Officer Commander Steve Banfield.

Cdr Banfield, who presented them with a ship’s crest, said: “It has been a privilege to be able to host five members of the PLA(N) on board HMS Iron Duke.

“As mariners we have much in common and as navies we have many shared security challenges. It is always a pleasure to be able to discuss life in the RN and naval ethos as well as learning about life in the PLA(N). Whilst onboard our visitors toured the ship, seeing how sailors in the RN live, eat and work.”

It has been a privilege to be able to host five members of the PLA(N) on board HMS Iron Duke. As mariners we have much in common and as navies we have many shared security challenges

Commander Steve Banfield, Commanding Officer of HMS Iron Duke

While one delegation received a tour of life in the Royal Navy the other tested out the football pitch of HMS Temeraire, playing a game of two halves. In the first the Royal Navy players beat their Chinese counterparts seven nil, and in the second, with a mixed up team, team A won 9-3.

The PLA(A) were officially welcomed into London’s West India Dock and Royal Dock by Rear Admiral Alex Burton, Commander UK Maritime Forces earlier in the week.

A colourful ceremony complete with a Chinese dragon took place alongside two of the warships which also attracted the attention of Chinese citizens in London who turned out to see their ships arrive.

The Task Group Commander, Rear Admiral Wang said, “London is a city with a long history, unique customs and abundant vitality, and we come here in order to bring Chinese people and seek friendship with you.

“During this visit we hope to carry out a variety of duties and functions with our two nations, as well as play sport with the Royal Navy in Portsmouth. We are also opening the warships to visitors and it’s hoped that many will come to look over the ships during their visit, and that the British people can get a deeper understanding of our nation’s Navy.”

“Our sailors are also looking forward to sampling the unique culture of London and meeting the British people. Although we are separated geographically from each other, the relations between our two nations and navy’s are always close. I hope this visit will strengthen communications and cooperation between our two nations, our two militaries and especially our two navies.”