A Royal Navy ship that visited Fairlie earlier this month was deployed this week to track Russian vessels in the English Channel. 

HMS Portland docked in the village on March 3, and earlier this week deployed from Plymouth to track Russian Gorshkov-class guided missile frigate, Admiral Kasatonov, and support tanker, Akademik Pashin. 

The British Type 23 frigate shadowed the Russians through the English Channel on Sunday morning as they headed towards the North Sea – after watching every move they made as they sailed north through the Bay of Biscay. 

Portland with her specialist Merlin helicopter is reporting on the movements of the Russian ships.

HMS Portland is a type-23 Duke-class frigate that was originally launched in 1999. 

She is 133 metres in length and can travel at a maximum speed of 28 knots out of her home base of HMNB Devonport in England.

The ship’s Commanding Officer, Commander Ed Moss-Ward said: “The Royal Navy routinely responds to escort warships in our territorial waters and the adjacent sea areas to ensure compliance with maritime law and to deter malign activity.

“Escorting the Russian task group alongside allied partners demonstrates the commitment of the Royal Navy and the NATO alliance to maintaining maritime security which is crucial to our national interests.”