Steel is cut on new navy warship to be based in Portsmouth

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Taken by the Ordnance Survey mapping plane Picture: Andrew Tyrrell / Ordnance Survey

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WORK has started on the fifth ship in a fleet of new offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) being built for the Royal Navy.

The first sheet of steel was cut for HMS Spey at BAE Systems’ Govan shipyard on the River Clyde.

The vessel will be built in Govan before being transferred to the Scotstoun yard, where she will be fitted out for operations.

She will eventually be based in Portsmouth.

Tony Douglas, chief executive officer for Defence Equipment and Support, part of the Ministry of Defence, pressed the button to begin the cutting process yesterday.

He said: ‘The team at Defence Equipment and Support has driven the successful delivery of the OPV programme. Today’s steel cut is a proud moment not only for us, but for the Royal Navy and our industry partners too.’

HMS Spey is one of two ships being built under a £287m agreement signed between the MoD and BAE Systems in December, 2016.

She is expected to be delivered to the Royal Navy in 2019 and enter service by 2021.

Spey follows in the footsteps of sister ships HMS Forth, HMS Medway, HMS Trent and HMS Tamar.

The cutting comes ahead of the work to build a new fleet of Type 26 frigates that will begin in summer.

The work will sustain some 800 jobs and is helping to guarantee the security of Portsmouth Naval Base, which will help maintain some of the new frigates.

It is part of the government’s 10-year £178bn defence equipment plan.