Patrol ship HMS Tyne has been monitoring the actions of intelligence-gathering vessel Viktor Leonov and her supporting tanker Sergey Osipov as they sail around the Moray Firth, in the North Sea.
The Russian vessels appear to have been sheltering from Storm Aiden and carrying out replenishment operations, before the Osipov left UK territory.
Lieutenant Justin Shirtcliff, the ship’s operations officer, said: ‘It was apparent these two ships were making use of the shelter from the high winds and inclement seas of Storm Aiden, and Tyne remained close by to monitor their activity.
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‘HMS Tyne and her sailors remain ready for short-notice tasking, whatever the weather, wherever the task.’
It’s the third time that the patrol ship has shadowed foreign warships in home waters from October 12 to November 8.
Previously, HMS Tyne had shadowed a group of Russian warships including the corvette Vasily Bykov, as well as a Kilo-class submarine and an accompanying support vessel.
Portuguese frigate NRP Corte Real from NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 1 joined the shadowing mission, which ensured constant surveillance of the Russian units as they moved through UK waters.
After handing over monitoring duties to the UK’s allies, HMS Tyne headed south to observe another Russian unit – the Smolny, a cadet training ship, as it transited through UK territory.
Performing these activities alongside her regular duties, which includes checking fishing vessels to safeguard the UK’s fish stock, HMS Tyne has shown the adaptability of offshore patrol vessels, according to commanding officer Lieutenant Commander Richard Skelton.
He said: ‘We have quickly changed tasks from monitoring foreign warships to conducting boarding operations to protect our fisheries.
‘I am proud of the hard work from the ship’s company that has made this possible.’
The recent shadowing exercises follow Portsmouth-based HMS Dragon being tracked by Russia as she moved through the Black Sea last month.