Arctic/Antarctic

HMS Prince of Wales visits remote island in Arctic Ocean

Members of the warship's crew met Norwegian forces stationed on Jan Mayen.

The Royal Navy's joint largest warship has ventured deep inside the Arctic Circle for a rare visit to a volcanic island.

HMS Prince of Wales, escorted by Type 23 Frigate HMS Richmond, reached the Norwegian island of Jan Mayen on Wednesday.

Seven sailors landed on the island to meet Norwegian personnel stationed there, at a time when the UK has underlined its commitment to security in the High North, the territories of Nordic countries – including Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden.

"Having long studied and always been fascinated by the Arctic, it is a real privilege to step ashore in Jan Mayen, strengthening the ties between the UK and Norway, our NATO and Joint Expeditionary Force partner," HMS Richmond's Commanding Officer, Commander Chris L'Amie, said.

Earlier in the month, more than 3,000 sailors and Royal Marines took part in what the Royal Navy described as the largest exercise in the Atlantic High North since the Cold War – Exercise Cold Response 2022.

    Norwegian Navy Commander Thor Straten was on board HMS Prince of Wales to share his knowledge and experience working in the Arctic.

    Commander Straten travelled to Jan Mayen with HMS Prince of Wales's Commanding Officer, Captain Steve Higham, and Commander L'Amie.

    HMS Prince of Wales arrived at the island after a four-day visit to Iceland, the newest member of the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF), a security coalition, which includes the UK, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway.

    "Being the first fifth-generation aircraft carrier to visit Iceland has been a proud moment for our ship's company as we continue our operations, alongside NATO allies and JEF partners in the Arctic," Capt Higham said.

    Located about 340 miles north of Iceland and 280 miles east of Greenland, the island of Jan Mayen is named after Dutch seafarer and explorer Jan Jacobszoon May van Schellinkhout and it is known for its glacier-covered volcano Beerenberg.

    HMS Prince of Wales will continue taking part in cold-weather tests in the region before returning to the UK.