Skip to navigationSkip to content

Photos: The strange sight of a stealth German warship berthed in London

The Sachsen class frigate F129, also called Sachsen, berthed in London’s Canary Wharf district.
By Leo Mirani
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

It is not every day that a stealth warship berths in the middle of London. It is even more rare for that warship to be German, with all the baggage that brings. But a host of factors conspired to bring this ship to London.

The Sachsen-class frigate F219, also called Sachsen, was in London last week carrying the prime minister of Saxony to deliver the Order of Merit of the Free State of Saxony to Prince Edward, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, descended from the house of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. If you’re seeing a pattern, that’s deliberate.

After a year and a half in dry dock, the Sachsen needed somewhere to go, and the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II provided an occasion for her to visit London; Prince Edward is a patron of the British-German Association, which seeks to foster warm relations between the two countries, and of the Dresden Trust, which is involved in the rebuilding of Dresden. The visit and award recognize the work of reconciling the two nations.

Without dwelling too long on the odd sight of seeing a German warship in London’s waters, here are some pictures from the visit:

Canary Wharf as seen from the bridge of the Sachsen. In the foreground is the “vertical launching system” of anti-aircraft missiles.
German sailors form a ceremonial guard for the ceremony aboard the Sachsen.
A band prepares to play aboard the Sachsen in London.
The Prime Minister of Saxony prepares to deliver the award.


The crew use “Oscar” to simulate man-overboard exercises when on training missions such as the one that brought them to London.

📬 A periodic dispatch from the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly in NYC.

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.