February 22, 2021 – A first venture into the Solent marks the debut of HMS Spey under the White Ensign, beginning the journey to joining her sisters as fully-fledged members of the Overseas Patrol Squadron.
Her Ready for Sea Date inspection was recently passed, allowing Commanding Officer Ben Evans to take the 90-metre patrol vessel out for the start of the next phase of tests, trials and training.
He said: “The ship’s company and I have been enjoying a succession of firsts with HMS Spey, and there will be more to come as we build towards the excitement of our first operational deployment.”
That deployment will be announced at the appropriate time, but Fleet Operational Sea Training will need to be successfully negotiated later this year after the ship’s company have grown accustomed to their new home.
The fifth and final of the second-generation of River-class ships built for the Royal Navy, Spey arrived in Portsmouth in October under the Blue Ensign as a ship in public service but was yet to enter the Royal Navy. That changed in early January when the White Ensign replaced Blue.
After receiving a ship’s company of around 60 men and women, who will rotate off and on-watch to maintain a crew of about 45 on board at any time, the road to operational status can begin.
Designed for work in UK waters or overseas with a mess deck for 50 embarked troops and a helipad capable of receiving the Fleet Air Arm’s Wildcat or Merlin.
When she becomes operationally active she will be the eighth River class vessel in Royal Navy service with HMS Forth, Medway currently on operations in the South and North Atlantic and Mediterranean respectively. The other patrol vessels are active in UK waters.