27 Nov 2018

Defence Secretary secures patrol vessels to protect home waters

The Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced he has secured the protection of British home waters by retaining three of the Royal Navy’s patrol ships.

The decision secures the future of the Batch 1 Offshore Patrols Vessels (OPVs), HMS Tyne, HMS Mersey and HMS Severn, which currently support the Fishery Protection Squadron.

They will be retained for at least the next two years to bolster the UK’s ability to protect its fishing fleet and shores.

The Royal Navy currently provide around 200 days of fishery protection a year but the Royal Navy will now have the capacity to deliver up to 600 days of fishery protection a year if needed.

Mr Williamson has announced that each ship will forward-operate from their namesake rivers – from Newcastle, Liverpool and the Cardiff area respectively – to boost rapid responses in British waters up and down the nation. The versatile ships are also vital to the Royal Navy’s anti-smuggling and counter-terrorism work, and frequently escort foreign vessels, including those from Russia, through the English Channel.

Speaking on board patrol vessel HMS Tyne, the Defence Secretary said: “Britain’s patrol vessels are essential to protecting our waters, our fisheries and our national security. Safeguarding the future of these three ships in the Royal Navy will ensure we can respond quickly to incidents at any time, further protecting our waters as we exit the EU.

“By forward-operating these ships from their affiliated locations across the country, including the Tyne, it will not only allow them to react quickly, but also strengthen the bonds between the Royal Navy and local communities.”

image © Crown Copyright

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