Royal Navy Shadows Chinese Destroyer Through Strait of Dover

HMS Westminster (foreground) escorts the PLA Navy warship Xian (Royal Navy)

Published Aug 6, 2019 1:49 PM by Royal Navy News

On Saturday, the Royal Navy frigate HMS Westminster kept watch on a Chinese warship as it transited the English Channel.

Fresh off 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 Type 052C destroyer Xian. 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 she has been honing her anti-submarine warfare skills off Norway's Arctic coast. 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.

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.