Fresh from a five-month patrol with NATO in the waters of northern Europe, Portsmouth-based HMS Westminster was activated to monitor the progress of the Chinese destroyer Xian as it sailed through the English Channel this weekend…

Three weeks after her sister frigate HMS St Albans escorted the Chinese warship up the Channel and into the North Sea, Westminster did the same as the Xian returned from her participation in Russia’s annual Navy Days event in St Petersburg.

HMS Westminster met up with the guided-missile destroyer near the Dover Strait and shadowed her through busy merchant shipping as she sailed south through 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,” said Commander Will Paston, HMS Westminster’s Commanding Officer. “The Xian conducted herself in a safe and professional manner throughout.”

Westminster has been attached to a NATO task group since March and, most recently, has been honing her anti-submarine warfare skills off the west coast of Norway inside the Arctic Circle, as well as patrolling UK waters.

She is now preparing to sail up the Thames for a visit to the capital, renewing her ties with her affiliates in the city and taking part in a ‘freedom’ parade marching through the streets of London for the first time in five years.