Estonian Prime Minister Pays Diplomatic Visit to HMS York

Estonian Prime Minister Pays Diplomatic Visit to HMS York

Fresh from a four-country exercise, HMS York has stopped in Tallinn on the last call of her Baltic deployment.

Following a high profile visit to St Petersburg in Russia her crew had to be quick to prepare the Type 42 for a last-minute visit by Estonia’s Prime Minister Andrus Anslip.

He toured the ship, viewed an honour guard and re-affirmed his country’s commitment to NATO partnership. On the first evening alongside, under a torrential downpour, York hosted an ambassadorial reception for 120 guests representing ten different nationalities including Chinese and Russian.

The next day saw several British sailors, led by commanding officer Commander Rex Cox, lay a wreath at the Kaitseväe Kalmistu Defence Forces Cemetery.

As well as the Estonian personnel buried there, 15 British personnel have their final resting place here from the First World War. Eleven of them were Royal Navy sailors including one from the former HMS Dragon. Other member’s of the crew played rugby, football and golf against local opposition

Following an official lunch held onboard for Her Majesty’s Ambassador, the Defence Attaché, Colonel Ian Watts, and Commander Ivo Vark, the Head of Estonian Navy, York prepared for the visit by Mr Ansip. After inspecting the guard of honour Mr Ansip was taken on a short tour of the ship and conducted discussions with the commanding officer and British Ambassador where he reiterated Estonia’s commitment to NATO and the strength of the UK-Estonian relationship.

Cdr Rex Cox said:

“It has been a pleasure to bring HMS York to Tallinn.

“The visit has been a huge success and allowed us to significantly further our relationship with the Estonian Navy. The Estonians have been fantastic hosts and my Ship’s Company have enjoyed the visit immensely.”

Last week HMS York took part in ship boarding and submarine hunting drills during the annual FRUKUS (France-Russia-UK-US) exercise, hosted this year by the Russian Federation Navy between the ports of Baltiysk and St. Petersburg.

In 2011 HMS York dashed to deliver medical supplies to Libya and visited British territories in the South Atlantic, but this year many of her Ship’s Company were visiting Russia for the first time.

The ship itself was working with the French ship FS De Grasse, the Russian vessel RFN Yaroslav Mudray and the American warship USS Normandy.

They put to sea from Baltiysk, part of the ‘closed’ (diplomatically restricted) Russian district of Kaliningrad, heading into strong winds until they reached the calm exercise area in the Baltic Sea. Previously the four ships had played sport against each other, with York winning a tug-of-war and swimming and coming second in a football tournament.

Over the next four days, while a chef and warfare officer swapped between De Grasse and York, the group went through watch manoeuvres, repelling fast attack craft, air defence, man overboard drills and close and medium range gunnery exercises.

The serials were all completed well and York was also given the chance to fire her main 4.5-inch gun against a towed target.

Naval Today Staff, July 11, 2012; Image: Royal Navy