Batumi port hosting HMS Dragon of Royal Navy Surface Fleet

  • The British destroyer carries an illustration of the Welsh Dragon on both sides of its bow. Photo via Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia., 15 Oct 2020 - 17:02, Tbilisi,Georgia

A Royal Navy Surface Fleet vessel has docked in Georgia's Black Sea port city of Batumi in what the Embassy of the United Kingdom has called a "clear demonstration of enduring strong partnership" between the two countries.

HMS Dragon, a Daring-class air-defence destroyer with 8,500 tons of displacement, is in the port hosted by the Georgian coast guard, with the visit set to involve a NATO-level evaluation of the performance of the coast service's boarding groups.

The destroyer's Commanding Officer Giles Palin and his British delegation were hosted in Batumi by Georgian dignitaries including Captain 1st Rank Ramaz Papidze, Director of the Coast Guard Department, and Archil Chikovani, Acting Mayor of Batumi. The welcoming also involved Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Brumwell, the UK Defence Attaché to Georgia.

The visit marks the first docking of HMS Dragon, a 152-metre-long ship commissioned in 2012, in Georgian territorial waters.

Armed with surface-to-air and anti-ship missiles, naval guns and cannons, the warship carries Wildcat and AW101 utility helicopters and has conducted patrols and rescue operations in the Atlantic, as well as security operations in the Arabian Sea. Last year the vessel took over Middle East patrol responsibilities from HMS Montrose.

The ship is expected to stay in the Batumi port until October 18.