Royal Navy ship shadows Chinese warship in Channel

HMS Westminster and Chinese warship 'Xian' Credit: Leading Photographer Alex Ceolin/Royal Navy

The Portsmouth-based Royal Navy frigate HMS Westminster has spent five months patrolling the waters of northern Europe with NATO.

HMS Westminster was on the way home to Portsmouth in Hampshire this weekend, when the crew were asked to shadow a Chinese warship sailing through the English Channel.

Three weeks ago HMS St Albans escorted the Chinese warship 'Xian' up the English Channel and to the North Sea so it could take part in Russia’s annual Navy Days event in St Petersburg. This weekend was the destroyer Xian's return journey, and the crew of HMS Westminster were given the escort duty.

HMS Westminster met the Chinese warship near the Dover Strait and then accompanied it southwards through the busy merchant shipping lanes in the English Channel.

“The Royal Navy routinely monitors other country’s warships through territorial waters as part of our ongoing mission in support of the defence of the UK.”

Commander Will Paston, Commanding Officer,HMS Westminster
The two ships in the English Channel

More recently, HMS Westminster has been honing its anti-submarine warfare skills off the west coast of Norway inside the Arctic Circle, and patrolling UK waters. The ship is due to sail up the River Thames to visit London to take part in a 'freedom' parade.

While in the capital, HMS Westminster will be berthed at Thames Quay in the Docklands. The ship's gangway will be open to the general public on Tuesday between 9am and 4pm for a free, ticket-only tour.