A ROYAL Navy minehunter docked in Poole Quay for a brief visit.

HMS Cattistock, a 650-tonne Hunt Class warship adopted by the borough, invited residents on board for a tour on Saturday.

The ship made her first UK landfall in Poole after returning from a three-month NATO mission in the Mediterranean, travelling everywhere from Sicily to Gibraltar and Algeria.

She was open to visitors for three hours before sailing back to her home port, Portsmouth.

Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Stephen Higham, said: “It’s incredibly important to have this bond with Poole.

“We are very proud of our Dorset links. When we are away, we do our best to advertise the beautiful county of Dorset. We also regularly offer up Dorset products, including cheese and Dorset Knob biscuits.”

He said the people of Poole have shown a “humbling amount of support and commitment”.

Since February, the ship’s company has served in a number of operations and exercises, as well as providing force security.

The crew took part in a major multinational mine hunting exercise off Spain with ships, submarines and aircraft from Spain, France and Turkey.

The exercise tested NATO forces against a variety of threats while fighting the battle to disarm mines.

Gunnery officer, Lieutenant Euan Martin, said: “We have a motto here – train fast, fight easy.

“We do as much training as we can so when a real situation happens, we’re prepared.”

Lt Cdr Higham said: “Seventy five per cent of the UK’s goods are imported by sea.

“It’s our job to make sure the seas are safe and protect the UK’s interests.”

He said the ship, constructed out of glass-reinforced plastic, has the “magnetic signature of a tin dinghy”, which protects it from certain types of mine.

HMS Cattistock normally patrols the Arab Gulf.