HMS Mersey: Portsmouth-based Royal Navy patrol ship stalks Russian ship travelling through English Channel

A Portsmouth-based patrol vessel stalked a Russian warship as it sailed through the English Channel.

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HMS Mersey monitored Perekop as it travelled close to the Kent shoreline. The Smolnyy-class training vessel initially spotted travelling near Dover yesterday.

Perekop was launched in 1976 and can hold a compliment of 30 crew and 300 cadets. According to a Sky News article published in 2019, the vessel carries basic armaments and is designed for self-defence and coastal patrol.

HMS MERSEY monitored the Russian warship Perekop as she travelled through the English Channel. Pictured is HMS Mersey arriving into Portsmouth Harbour in 2022. Picture: Sam Stephenson.HMS MERSEY monitored the Russian warship Perekop as she travelled through the English Channel. Pictured is HMS Mersey arriving into Portsmouth Harbour in 2022. Picture: Sam Stephenson.
HMS MERSEY monitored the Russian warship Perekop as she travelled through the English Channel. Pictured is HMS Mersey arriving into Portsmouth Harbour in 2022. Picture: Sam Stephenson.
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She carries four naval cannons, two twin anti-aircraft guns and an anti-submarine rocket launcher. Perekop is one of two training vessels attached to the Russian Baltic fleet.

A Royal Navy spokesperson told Kent Online: ‘As part of a unified response with our allies, we monitor the presence of Russian ships as they transit through the English Channel. This is a normal response to transiting warships from other nations.’

This is not the first time Perekop has been spotted in British waters. Patrol ship HMS Tyne had to stalk the Russian ship on Christmas Even in 2019 – remaining at sea while Perekop passed by.

HMS Mersey was launched in 2003 and is considered the youngest of the original batch of the Royal Navy’s River-class offshore patrol vessels. She is one of the most active ships in the fleet – spending 220 days a year at sea on average.

Her main tasks are to monitor fishing boats and trawlers and see if they stick to agreed quotes. HMS Mersey is armed with a 20mm cannon and two machine guns.