HMS Mersey Ready to Patrol Waters around UK

HMS Mersey Ready to Patrol Waters around UK

Ready to patrol the waters around the UK once again after a major overhaul followed by intensive training is fishery protection ship HMS Mersey.

 

Ready to patrol the waters around the UK once again after a major overhaul followed by intensive training is fishery protection ship HMS Mersey.

The Portsmouth-based ship received a revamp in Falmouth at the tail end of last year and just squeezed in trials in time to return to the Solent for Christmas.

2014 opened with a bang: Operational Sea Training – the assessment by the Royal Navy’s ultimate trainers who determine whether a ship and ship’s company are ready to head off on patrol or deployment.

With just 14 days at sea from docking to the start of OST – and with a largely new ship’s company, including CO Lt Cdr David Gillett – Mersey appeared to have a mountain to climb to be ready for scrutiny from the Flag Officer Sea Training staff.

The crew more than rose to the task, delivering a series of strong performances in the face of every challenge.

The FOST ‘wreckers’ simulated fires, floods, collisions, groundings and casualties, filling compartments with smoke; they used the latest techniques to ensure that every exercise seemed as genuine as the real thing, even using recordings of rushing water to add to the realism of flood damage.

Mersey also came under simulated attack from all manner of threats proving her ability to deal with any incident and her readiness for operations.

The pace was equally relentless when the ‘wreckers’ weren’t onboard as other FOST staff trained ‘man overboard’ drills, long-range boat operations and even flying, in collaboration with Sea Kings from HMS Gannet.

The training period reached its climax when the ship was tested in a range of scenarios designed to prove Mersey’s ability to deal with a variety of maritime security and emergency contingencies.

“I am extremely proud of every single one of the Ship’s Company without whose fantastic efforts, HMS Mersey would not be ready for operations once again,” said Lt Cdr Gillett.

“Mersey returns to the Fleet with a well-trained team, a new look and, if the FOST training is anything to go by, undoubtedly ready for anything!”

Mersey is one of three River-class vessels which work with the Marine Management Organisation to safeguard fish stocks, as well as acting as the Navy’s eyes and ears as around the UK.

Although all three ships are ostensibly based in Portsmouth, they’re rarely at home, making use of a myriad of ports around the UK to take on board supplies and fuel and swap crew – one third of the 45-strong ship’s company are always ashore, either enjoying leave, or undergoing training/courses to allow the River class to be at sea for more than 300 days a year.

Press Release, March 10, 2014, 2014; Image: Royal Navy

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