THE last of a new generation of Royal Navy warships built to defend Britain’s coasts after Brexit has been named.
HMS Spey, the last of five cutting-edge offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) was formally named during a naval ceremony on the Clyde, in Scotland.
The £127m River-class ship, which will one day be based in Portsmouth, will boost Britain’s counter-terrorism and anti-smuggling work in UK waters and across the globe.
The news of Spey’s naming comes after the secretary of state for Scotland, Alister Jack, suggested the Royal Navy would be used to protect UK waters from EU fisherman after Brexit.
The Conservative MP for Dumfries and Galloway was ‘given huge applause for the comment’ at the Tory party conference in Manchester, when he also dismissed concerns over a no-deal exit as ‘absolute nonsense’, reports Scottish news website The Press and Journal.
Asked how the fishing industry would be protected in a no-deal, Mr Jack said: ‘Well, we have a thing called the Royal Navy.’
He added: ‘I am also absolutely sure that after we leave the EU the Scots will be in no mind to leave the United Kingdom and give those assets back to the EU.’
As previously reported, the new OPVs will be supported by their predecessors, which have been retained by the Royal Navy to bolster Britain’s coastal defence after the UK leaves the EU.
Standing in at 90-metre, Spey is the final of a five-strong OPV contract with BAE Systems, worth a combined £635m. She is armed with a 30mm cannon and flight deck capable of accommodating a Merlin helicopter.
Defence minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: ‘Our offshore patrol vessels play a pivotal role in patrolling our coastline, protecting our domestic waters and supporting maritime interests from anti-smuggling to fisheries protection.
‘The naming of HMS Spey is an exciting milestone for the OPV programme, demonstrating our commitment to UK shipyards while bolstering the Royal Navy’s capabilities.’
The ship’s lady sponsor, Lady Alison Johnstone, formally named Spey by smashing a bottle of Speyside Distillery whisky against Spey’s hull.
All batch 2 OPVs, HMS Forth, HMS Medway, HMS Trent, HMS Tamar and Spey are to be delivered to the Royal Navy by the end of 2021.