Royal Navy patrol ships from Portsmouth shadow fleet of seven Russian warships
ROYAL Navy patrol ships from Portsmouth have shadowed a fleet of seven Russian warships as they passed through the English Channel.
HMS Tyne, Severn and Mersey monitored the Russian Federation navy vessels as they sailed closed to the UK.
They also tracked a surfaced Algerian submarine as it travelled back to its north African home.
HMS Mersey met up with a trio of vessels – frigate Admiral Kasatonov, a supporting tug Nikolay Chiker and tanker Vyazma – off Ushant in France and stayed with them through the Channel and Dover Strait and into the North Sea.
A navy spokesman said: ‘Her monitoring mission was made more challenging by adverse weather conditions such as high winds and large sea states which meant the Russian ships took longer than usual to pass through as they sheltered in more confined waters before resuming their journey.
‘HMS Mersey’s ship’s company worked around the clock to ensure that the three Russian ships passed the area safely.’
Navigating officer Lieutenant Thomas Bees said: ‘The Russian Federation naval vessels operated in a safe and professional manner throughout their transit.’
Before the Kasatonov group sailed through the Channel, Mersey worked with HMS Tyne to keep watch on four Russian vessels sailing through the Channel towards the Atlantic.
The navy spokesman added: ‘The quartet – three Ropucha-class amphibious ships capable of landing tanks, Minsk, Kaliningrad and Korolev, and the frigate Boiky – were located in the North Sea and closely followed through the Dover Strait and into the English Channel before reaching the open waters of the North Atlantic.
‘As part of the operation, the Portsmouth-based offshore patrol ships worked with several allied Nato ships and aircraft to ensure the Russian force was observed seamlessly.’
Lieutenant Commander Edward Munns, Mersey’s commanding officer, said: ‘Mersey proved her flexibility once more in being able to react to a short notice tasking quickly and successfully.
‘Throughout this tasking my ship’s company displayed outstanding professionalism to switch their mind set to National Tasking and dutifully ensured the safe transit of these vessels.’
The primary role of city-based patrol ships is to ensure all fishing vessels operating in home waters abide by the rules and stick to UK regulations in the country’s exclusive economic zone.