A NAVAL minehunter ship has been spotted circling off the Dorset coast.

Images captured late on Saturday, June 3, from Bournemouth beach show the BNS Lobelia – a vessel which belongs to the Royal Belgian Navy.

Marine navigation systems record the ship as leaving Portsmouth on Saturday morning before moving west along the English Channel.

It has since been recorded as circling the coast off Bournemouth since Saturday evening.

Bournemouth Echo: Image: marinevesseltraffic.comImage: marinevesseltraffic.com (Image: Marine Vessel Traffic)

When BNS Lobelia made a similar visit to the coast in 2020, the Royal Belgian Navy told the Echo it was for an exercise in coastal navigation.

Exercises include fire fighting, navigation, drills and breakdowns, they said at the time.

Lobelia (M921) is a Tripartite-class minehunter which launched on February 3, 1988. A minehunter is a naval vessel that seeks, detects, and destroys individual naval mines.