Royal Navy: HMS Prince of Wales to arrive at Rotterdam port for 'five-day visit' amid deployment for largest NATO exercise

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Royal Navy carrier HMS Prince of Wales will arrive at Rotterdam port for a "five-day visit" amid deployment for largest NATO exercise

Royal Navy carrier HMS Prince of Wales will arrive at Rotterdam port in the Netherlands today (Tuesday 19 March) for a "five-day visit". Navy Lookout posted on X, formerly Twitter, that the aircraft carrier will arrive in the port this morning at around 10:45, adding that the "airgroup have now disembarked".

The arrival of the carrier in Rotterdam comes after it has been involved in the largest Nato exercise since the Cold War, called Exercise Steadfast Defender. The aircraft carrier, headed by Swedish and Finnish jets in formation, was taking part in Exercise Nordic Responder 24 and was joined by HMS Portland, destroyer USS Paul Ignatius and Norwegian vessels in the northern Nordic region.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The aircraft carrier also recently completed Exercise Joint Warrior, which involved Canadian, Spanish, Danish and British ships sailing in formation and carrying out other operations near the Norwegian ice-cold fjords. She was joined by more than 30 ships, four submarines, multiple aircraft from maritime patrol to F-35 Lightning jets and more than 20,000 personnel from European nations. Air and land scenarios were were played out in the UK-led phase of the operation.

Royal Navy carrier HMS Prince of Wales will arrive at Rotterdam port for a "five-day visit" amid deployment for largest NATO exercise. (Photo: Getty Images)Royal Navy carrier HMS Prince of Wales will arrive at Rotterdam port for a "five-day visit" amid deployment for largest NATO exercise. (Photo: Getty Images)
Royal Navy carrier HMS Prince of Wales will arrive at Rotterdam port for a "five-day visit" amid deployment for largest NATO exercise. (Photo: Getty Images) | Getty Images

The 65,000 tonne vessel was deployed in February, taking on the role after HMS Queen Elizabeth suffered a fault to her propeller shaft coupling. HMS Queen Elizabeth was en-route to Rosyth to undergo repairs on 8 March when a blaze broke out. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the blaze was quickly extinguished and no ordnance was involved in the incident.

A Royal Navy spokesperson said: "An isolated fire was quickly brought under control and extinguished and there are no reported injuries. We take the health and safety of our personnel extremely seriously and are investigating to understand the cause. This will have no impact on HMS Queen Elizabeth's programme and the Royal Navy continues to fulfil all its commitments."

During the time HMS Prince of Wales was due to depart for the deployment, the aircraft carrier also experienced problems. Hundreds of people lined Portsmouth Harbour to watch the carrier's scheduled departure but at the last minute it was postponed. Retired Rear Admiral Chris Parry told BBC News that the fleet's carriers were getting a "reputation for not being reliable" and he suspected there had been delays in getting the vessel's systems and equipment ready after maintenance. The aircraft carrier departed a day later instead.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It will be arriving in Rotterdam port today, however the UK Carrier Strike Group posted on X that the F-35B jets "which were at the heart of the Carrier Strike Group airwing" are "heading back to RAF Marham". One user was disappointed at the news, responding to the post: "We are eagerly anticipating the HMS Prince of Wales' arrival in Rotterdam. Regrettably, the F-25s have returned to RAF Marham."

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.