Admiral urges minister to save ageing patrol ships

Two members of the Portsmouth and Medway Clearance Diving Team at HMS Vernon with the 250lb German bomb which was dredged up at Albert Johnson Quay. On the left LS(D) M O'Learey with some of the high explosive content of the bomb and AB C Carr with the fuse

THIS WEEK IN 1981: Dredger brings up unexploded bomb

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BRITAIN needs to keep all its patrol ships in order to protect its overseas territories after Brexit, a former head of the Royal Navy has claimed.

Admiral Lord Alan West has demanded the nation doesn’t scrap the older River-class offshore patrol vessels as they are retired and replaced with a newer breed of warship.

During a debate in the House of Lords the Labour peer and former First Sea Lord said: ‘We have responsibility for the largest area of ocean of any country in the world.

‘In that circumstance, does it not make sense not to get rid of the offshore patrol vessels, which are relatively new, when the new ones come online, and to use those to look after these vast areas of ocean that at the moment are not being properly protected?’

Portsmouth’s HMS Severn was decommissioned in October after 14 years of service. She could be sold to another nation or to another government department in the UK.

Baroness Susan Williams, home department minister, added there were ‘no plans to get rid’ of the older patrol ships.