Portsmouth warship sets sail to tackle drug dealers in the Atlantic

HMS Mersey will set sail from Portsmouth tomorrow on a seven-month mission to tackle drug dealers in the north Atlantic
HMS Mersey will set sail from Portsmouth tomorrow on a seven-month mission to tackle drug dealers in the north Atlantic
HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives in Portsmouth            Picture: PA

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A WARSHIP from Portsmouth will set sail from the city tomorrow on a seven month mission to tackle drug smuggling in the north Atlantic.

Royal Navy patrol vessel HMS Mersey is due to leave the city tomorrow morning.

Mersey will provide security and assurance to the UK’s overseas territories in the Caribbean and carry out counter-narcotics patrols as part of the international effort to deter drug smuggling at sea.

Speaking of the mission, Mersey’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Richie Hewitt, said: ‘This will be a busy and exciting deployment for Mersey and her ship’s company. Over the past few months we’ve worked hard to train and prepare the ship and we are ready for the wide variety of tasks that may be required of us.’

As well as her anti-narcotics role. Mersey’s ship’s company will also be on standby for disaster relief operations and is well trained and equipped for the role - carrying emergency relief stores, a doctor and medical team on board.

The ship has a number of specialist naval personnel trained to deal with the aftermath of a natural disaster.

They are able to go ashore and assess the damage, identify priorities and recommend where disaster relief support is directed.

Mersey also has the capacity to make ten tonnes of fresh water per day and can embark shipping containers of aid and equipment to stricken areas if required.

The vessel is due to pass the Round Tower just after 11am.