Crew from Royal Navy warship HMS Spey have described their warmest welcome since deploying to the Indo-Pacific last September, spending a week with the military and civilian populations of Fiji.
After bolstering COVID defences in Pitcairn Island and updating historic charts of remote Pacific waters, the ship spent a week engaging with the country.
HMS Spey's five-year deployment (alongside sister ship HMS Tamar) was welcomed by a military band lining the jetty in the capital Suva, and crew were met with a ceremonial guard from the Fijian Navy, Fijian Police, Port Authorities, and members of the British High Commission.
The visit went on to include a tour of the Fijian Navy Hydrographic Centre and a medal ceremony for members of the Fijian Military who trained at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.
"It's really impressive that the Fijians managed over 250 days at sea conducting survey tasks last year; considering the small size of their Navy, they really do make the most of their personnel and equipment," said Lieutenant Mike Royle, Spey's Navigator.
In 1915, the people of Fiji's Nakelo helped the crew of HMS Encounter – on the lookout for German shipping, and were thanked with a Union Flag.
The tradition was upheld in 2022 by HMS Spey, who presented another, in keeping with tradition to celebrate the ties.