HMS Illustrious calls at Lisbon
Royal Navy helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious has just paid a routine visit to Lisbon after completing Exercise Deep Blue.
Exercise Deep Blue was an Anti-Submarine Warfare exercise involving surface, submarine and air participants from the UK, France and the Netherlands.
It included 9 Merlin Mk2 helicopters embarked in HMS Illustrious, the French frigate FS La Motte Picquet and British type 23 frigates HMS Westminster and HMS Richmond, as well as British, French and Dutch submarines and French maritime patrol aircraft.
For an intensive two week period, a multitude of exercise scenarios tested, and proved, the capabilities of all units working together as a multi-national task group.
Berthing right at the heart of the city at the cruise terminal, Jardim do Tabaco, allowed unfettered access and a spectacular view of the city.
The visit enabled the ship’s company to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city for a period of relaxation after a busy time at sea.
During the visit the ship’s company football team were able to participate in match with a combined team of locals and ex-pats, the Lisbon Casuals. The pouring rain played in the Lusty team’s favour and they won 7-2.
WO1 Ian Wilson, Executive Warrant Officer and football team manager, said: “It was a good result from the lads and probably should have been more. This victory maintains our two year unbeaten streak.”
The 23,000 ton helicopter carrier’s visit coincided with the Queen’s Birthday Party reception hosted by the British Ambassador and the ship was able to provide a unique venue for this occasion.
Captain Mike Utley, HMS Illustrious’ Commanding Officer said: “We have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit Portugal. The ship’s company are very grateful to the local people of Lisbon for their unending hospitality.
“We were especially delighted to host the Queen’s Birthday Party on behalf of Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Portugal and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.”