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Why Nato warships docked in Dundee amid Russian tensions

Four Nato warships docked in Dundee after arriving from Norway on Friday.

Shipping data shows the first two warships, flying under German and Danish flags, arrived in the early hours from the Nato Joint Warfare Centre in Stavanger, Norway.

Nato A1411 warship, a German replenishment vessel, arrived in the city at around 3.22am according to Marine Traffic data.

A second ship, Nato Warship F326 from Denmark, arrived in Dundee a short time later at 3.49am.

The first two vessels were then joined by the rest of the patrol, including Nato Warships F262 and F831.

All four ships docked in the port at King George V Wharf Road.

They gradually left over the weekend, with the final ship –  F831 – leaving Dundee on Friday afternoon.

The warships arrived in the early hours

Asked about the ships’ future mission, a spokesperson for German armed forces said they were unable to confirm current movements due to the situation in Ukraine.

Forth Ports, which owns the Port of Dundee, said naval vessels were regular visitors but refused to comment further.

Nato Warship F326 in Dundee this morning
Nato Warship F326 in Dundee this morning.

Barry Holman, 37, went to see the boats early on Friday morning after seeing a post on Facebook about the ships arriving in the city.

He told The Courier: “It’s definitely something new and interesting to photograph.

“We get a lot of oil rigs and ships being decommissioned, but never anything this interesting.

An inflatable launched from one of the ships

“The last time they were here was about three or four years ago and my wife got some great pictures.”

Barry said the arrival made him curious about whether the visit was related to the situation in Ukraine.

“Maybe they were stopping along the way,” he said, adding: “I spoke to some ex-army men who were down having a nose about, they found it quite interesting.

The large A1411 replenishment ship

“One of the ships looks similar to the UK HMS Duncan, and another looks like a strike vessel.”

A keen photographer, Barry returned to the riverside viewpoint once the rain cleared up to get a closer look at the boats.

He added: “I got permission from airport and police to fly my drone across the Tay to get a nice angle.

“I was able to get a picture of the boats with the dock in the background.”

The visit comes ahead of a Nato exercise due to take place in Norway later this month, the largest the alliance has planned for this year.

Two nato warships in Dundee
Both of the warships are docked in Dundee

Cold Response 2022 will bring together around 30,000 troops from 27 nations between mid-March to early April.

Troops will train on land, at sea and in the air, deploying troops as if they were helping to defend an attacked Nato country.

Why are the Nato warships in Dundee?

Nato said Standing NATO Maritime Group One, which is formed of four ships, had arrived in Dundee as part of a scheduled port visit after participating in an exercise last week.

Speaking as the ships arrived in the city, the Marine Group’s commander, A. van de Sande, said: “A combined port visit is a way to maintaining the existing strong relationships.

Nato Warship F362 in Dunde
Four warships in total have docked in Dundee.

“Interaction and building relationships between sailors from around the world, but also with the local communities of allied nations during port visits, make us stand together.”

A Nato spokesperson said: “The Standing Nato Maritime Groups are a ready force, continuously available to Nato to perform operational missions as required.

“The groups provide continuous maritime capability from peace to conflict, establish alliance presence and maintain a high level of readiness.”

After their visit to Dundee, SNMG1 will participate in the long-planned Nato exercise Brilliant Jump 2022, which the alliance says will “demonstrate the readiness and mobility of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF)”.

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