Hope remains to keep Royal Navy’s ageing fleet of patrol ships after Brexit

Some of HMS Mersey's crew including, at the front, SLt Alex Steeples (white shirt) and SLt Lucy Carmichael. Royal Navy sailors from the Fishery Protection Squadron celebrate National Fish and Chips Day Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Royal Navy praised for protecting UK’s most-beloved dish on Fish and Chips Day 2018

Picture: Malcolm Wells

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HOPES are high a fleet of ageing warships will be kept to patrol Britain’s coastline after Brexit, Royal Navy top brass has said.

Leading officers hope to protect the three remaining batch one offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) from being sidelined and replaced by the five, larger batch two ships.

In March the treasury set aside £12.7m to the Ministry of Defence for key EU exit preparations – which includes cash to preserve the batch one OPVs in case they are needed after Brexit.

Rear Admiral Chris Gardener, assistant chief naval staff ships, said it was ‘right’ the government explored all options, adding with the new batch twos now coming into the fleet it was the ‘perfect time’ to put the older vessels into ‘extended readiness’.