New berths for border patrol vessels in area

The crew of HMS Queen Elizabeth wave from the deck on the Firth of Forth after leaving the Rosyth dockyard near Edinburgh to begin sea worthiness trials  Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

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SEA ports across the region will be better protected after a new agreement was signed.

Portsmouth Naval Base and the Home Office’s Border Force agreed that the five patrol vessels from the Border Force can now berth at both Portsmouth Harbour and Fort Blockhouse in Gosport.

Under the memorandum of understanding, access to the new berths will increase security, especially whilst towing or searching suspect vessels, along with the capability to refuel 24 hours a day.

Border Force will no longer use Haslar Marina in Gosport.

The five crews monitor UK waters 24 hours a day, offering non-military maritime surveillance and interception capabilities in the country, trying to stop smuggling and border tax fraud.

The crews use five HM Cutters to stop illegal goods and people cross UK borders.

Doug McLellan, assistant director of maritime operations at Border Force, said: ‘This is an important step forward. Border Force and the Royal Navy are organisations with hundreds of years of history and both are involved in protecting our frontiers.

‘Operationally it will be useful for us as the naval base offers a discreet place to carry out our business.’

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