Royal Navy's greenest warship ever to deploy on first operational mission later this year

BRITAIN’S ‘greenest’ warship since the age of sail has finally joined the Royal Navy’s fleet after raising the White Ensign for the first time.

Friday, 5th June 2020, 12:41 pm
Updated Sunday, 7th June 2020, 3:41 pm

Portsmouth-based HMS Tamar took part in the navy tradition during a commissioning ceremony on her namesake river Tamar, in Plymouth, Devon.

The milestone now means before Tamar is officially part of the fleet and ready to venture on her first operational deployment later this year.

The patrol ship’s skipper Lieutenant Commander Michael Hutchinson said it was a remarkable achievement, considering the first of the vessel’s 40-strong crew only joined seven months ago.

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HMS Tamar pictured firing her 30mm gun during gunnery exercise around south west waters. Photo: LPhot Alex Ceolin

‘It’s an incredibly proud moment for the ship,’ he added. ‘We’ve generated really quickly, we’ve done all our training and now we are at the point where we can join the fleet, and start to get ready for our first deployment later this year.’

The vessel, emblazoned with distinctive two red lions on her hull, has been carrying out training around Plymouth Sound, which included her first helicopter landing and live-firing drills.

The 2,000-tonne patrol ship has also been putting her state-of-the-art engines to the test.

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Pictures taken as HMS Tamar sailed up the River Tamar to raise her White Ensign. Photo: PO Phot Joel Rouse

Environmentally-friendly Tamar is the first vessel in the fleet to be fitted with ‘catalytic converters’ which can reduce nitrogen-based emissions by up to 95 per cent.

She is the newest of the navy’s second generation of offshore patrol vessels (OPV).

Her role will see her being deployed across the globe for lengthy missions tackling piracy and drug smuggling.

Tamar’s lady sponsor, Lady Brigitte Peach wished Tamar and her crew good luck ahead of their first overseas mission.

Some of the ship's company of HMS Tamar gather on the ship's flight deck during the vessel's commissioning ceremony. Photo: LPhot Alex Ceolin

She said: ‘Congratulations to you all on the outstanding achievement of your transition to a warship proudly bearing the famous White Ensign.

‘From the wonderful moment of her launch just over a year ago, I followed your excellent progress from build acceptance to a fighting platform.

‘Of course, current circumstances have prevented me from being with you at sea and for the memorable moment of the raising of the White Ensign, but I am there with you in spirit and continue to follow your progress with interest.’

Tamar can carry a maximum of 60 crew on board and has space to accommodate an additional assault force of up to 50 Royal Marines.

One of HMS Tamar's sailors stood next to the ship's name plaque. Photo: LPhot Alex Ceolin.

The ship is the fourth of five new OPVs, with her older sisters HMS Forth and HMS Medway already on deployment in the Falklands and Caribbean, while HMS Trent is working up to her first mission and HMS Spey is still in construction.

HMS Tamar raised the White Ensign during a ceremony on her namesake river, Tamar, near Plymouth. Photo: LPhot Alex Ceolin.
HMS Tamar raised the White Ensign during a ceremony on her namesake river, Tamar, near Plymouth. Photo: LPhot Alex Ceolin.