A ROYAL Navy warship, earmarked to head to the Dover coastline on a mission to stop illegal migrants crossing the Channel, could leave Portsmouth before nightfall.
Offshore patrol ship HMS Mersey is reportedly one of the military assets the government is considering sending to the Dover Strait as Britain looks to respond to a migrant crisis.
The Ministry of Defence has not confirmed if the vessel will be deployed to the sea off the south coast port, with an official only stating the armed forces stood ‘ready’ to provide additional support.
However, Portsmouth’s Queen’s Harbour Master – which controls all the comings and goings at the city’s international port – has revealed that Mersey has been given a 3pm slot to leave the naval base.
The time slot is not necessarily a cast-iron guarantee that Mersey will leave at this time – or at all.
However, it does provide a hint that the vessel – which was one of three ageing patrol ships saved by the government to provide additional border protection to the UK post-Brexit – is ready to head out.
The ship could spend as long as two weeks providing protection to the south coast while waiting for two UK Border Force cutters to make their way back from the Mediterranean, The Daily Mail claimed.