Royal Navy ship from Portsmouth scrambled to shadow fleet of three Russian warships
A FLEET of Russian warships has been shadowed by a Royal Navy patrol vessel from Portsmouth.
HMS Mersey spent three days following the foreign task group as it passed through UK waters.
Mersey had been patrolling off the Norfolk coast when she was scrambled to follow the fleet, headed by the frigate Yaroslav Mudryy.
The 1,700-tonne patrol ship met up with the Mudryy, plus her supporting tanker Yelnya and the seagoing tug Viktor Konetsky on Saturday – and stuck with them as they continued through Dover and into the Channel.
She is due to complete her shadow mission later today when the Russians leave UK waters.
The Mudryy is a Neustrashimyy-class frigate believed to be heading from the Baltic to the Indian Ocean to participate in exercises with the Indian Navy.
It is standard practice for Russian warships to be accompanied by support vessels when heading out on prolonged deployments.
Mersey was conducting a fishery enforcement patrol, ensuring trawlermen abide by fishing rules in UK waters when she received the task to meet up with the Russians.
‘It is a testament to my ship’s company’s professionalism and commitment that such a small team can switch focus to successfully achieve whatever the nation requires of them,’ said Mersey’s commanding officer Lieutenant Commander Will Edwards-Bannon.
‘I am very proud of the way they responded to this change in Mersey’s tasking. The Royal Navy is used to working alongside our allies to uphold the rules-based international system, both in home waters and around the globe.
‘As ever, I am very grateful to the friends and families of all of us who serve in Mersey for their continued support as we work hard to protect our nations’ interests.’
Although devoting most of her time to safeguarding UK fishing stocks, HMS Mersey has had a varied and busy year, including escorting various other Russian warships, exercises with the Irish Navy and offering support to Border Force in dealing with illegal migration in the Dover Strait.
In January she was sent to help bolster UK Border Force amid a surge in migrants crossing the Channel from France.