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16 May 2024

Gibraltar Squadron renews ties with Portuguese Navy through Algarve training

Gibraltar Squadron renews ties with Portuguese Navy through Algarve training
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Royal Navy Press Release
HMS Cutlass was invited to join the Portuguese Navy for two days of training off the Algarve coast – more used to pleasure boats, waterskiers and swimmers than men o’war as the country’s most popular tourist destination.

Typically found patrolling Gibraltar’s Territorial Waters with her sister HMS Dagger and the Pacific 24 RIBs of the RN Gibraltar Squadron 24/7/365. 

After a slightly bumpy transit through the Strait of Gibraltar, then across the Bay of Cadiz, Cutlass joined Portuguese vessels NRP Cassiopeia and NRP Hidra and a boarding team of Portuguese marines in Portimão – a voyage of about 200 miles.

The combined training included simulated Fast Inshore Attack Craft attacks, officer of the watch manoeuvres, towing, man overboard recovery drills and gunnery.

Prior to this exercise, the furthest the squadron had gone beyond the Rock was a first visit to Tangier in Morocco last May, although in previous incarnations the squadron regularly exercised with its NATO ally off the Algarve coast. 

“The Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron used to visit Portugal frequently, but due to Covid and the work getting the Cutlass-class to full operational capability, we haven’t visited the region since 2018 in HMS Scimitar,” explained Cutlass’ Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Cameron Walters.

“The deployment has been very important for the squadron to prove the range of the Cutlass class whilst also visiting somewhere different and working alongside our friends in the Portuguese Navy.

“It was fantastic to share tactics and procedures with a fellow NATO ally by training together; our hosts from the Southern Maritime Zone Command could not have been more welcoming and we very much look forward to returning in the future.”

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