A NEW Dutch warship has powered into the Tyne - giving onlookers a first glimpse of the vessel outside its own waters.
Dozens gathered at the seafront in South Shields for the historic visit of NLNS Holland.
The near 4,000-ton ship is the latest addition to the Dutch Navy and is so new she had never before left the safety of home territorial straits.
Bosses at the Port of Tyne, which manages the waterway, hailed her visit a “coup”.
The 108m-long vessel arrived just after noon following a voyage that started at midnight in Den Helder, Holland.
She will spend three days berthed at Northumbrian Quay, North Shields, ahead of a long-term mission to secure European fishing stocks in co-operation with UK forces.
Lieutenant Commander Charles Wood MBE, the Royal Navy’s regional liaison officer, said: “She is not especially large but she looks very impressive. This is certainly a bit of a coup for us.
“This UK visit is the first for this new Dutch warship and I am delighted that the Royal Netherlands Navy have selected the North East as their preferred port of call.”
NLNS Holland entered service in the Royal Netherland’s Navy on 12th May last year and has been undergoing sea trials.
Commander officer CM van den Berg said: “We are particularly fond of visiting the North East, particularly Newcastle and Sunderland.
“Both are well known to offer a friendly welcome to visiting Dutch Navy vessels. The Dutch have many family and cultural ties with this area of England.
“NLNS Holland is a new ship and it is only right that we should visit one of our favourite ports to show her off.”
He added: “I regret that on this occasion I am not allowed to open the ship to visits by the general public.
“This visit is to allow the ship’s company some time for rest and recreation and we are all looking forward to this weekend”.
# GAZETTE readers lined up to welcome the ship into Tyneside yesterday.
David Fowles, from South Shields, took this one shortly after she entered the piers while Jim Taroni didn’t have to venture further than his back yard in Bamburgh Grove, in Horsley Hill, South Shields, for this snap.
Paul Gray, of Harbour View, South Shields, captured her as she sailed down the Tyne towards her berthing spot.
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