Royal Navy's new patrol ship HMS Spey is commissioned into the fleet
PATROL ship HMS Spey has been commissioned into the Royal Navy, becoming the latest ship to officially join the fleet.
The vessel is the fifth and final of the second-generation of River-class warship built for the Royal Navy
Her commissioning ceremony was held in Invergodon, in Scotland, during a scaled down affair due to coronavirus restrictions,
Built on the Clyde, Spey and her 45-strong will head to their home port of Portsmouth before they begin their first operational mission later this year.
Jeremy Quin, defence procurement minister, said: ‘Today marks a significant milestone for the Royal Navy’s second generation of River Class vessels, as HMS Spey prepares to join her four sister ships to provide essential maritime security for the UK.
‘Built on the River Clyde, HMS Spey symbolises vital industry expertise central to delivering the next-generation of naval capabilities.’
During the commissioning guests were entertained by the Band of the Royal Marines Scotland while RAF submarine-hunting Poseidon aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth conducted a spectacular flypast to mark the occasion.
Lieutenant Commander Ben Evans, Spey’s skipper, said it was a ‘proud’ moment for all the ship’s company,
Addressing those at the ceremony, Lt Cdr Evans added: ‘What a fantastic privilege to be able to conduct our commissioning ceremony in Scotland. This is a Scottish ship, built in Scotland with close links to this part of the country, and which will soon fly the White Ensign around the globe.
‘For many here today this is the first time they would have seen the newest ship in the Royal Navy, and we are ensuring that the day is celebrated as safely as possible.
‘I am proud to be here today with my amazing ship’s company. They have achieved so much and worked so hard to get us to this important milestone.’
HMS Spey left the Clyde shipyard in October last year, before undergoing a rigorous programme of operational sea training to ready her for action.
Designed to work both domestically and overseas, Spey and her sister vessels can carry a crew of about 45 Royal Navy sailors – with room on board for 50 troops.
The 295ft-long ships can also embark a Royal Navy Merlin helicopter, on their 20m flight decks, and can perform a wide range of tasks – from anti-piracy patrols to disaster relief efforts.
Rear Admiral Simon Asquith, the Royal Navy’s commander operations, said the ships were ‘impressively flexible’ and were ‘already making a real difference to current operations globally’.
‘As we speak, HMS Trent, HMS Forth and HMS Medway are providing sustained forward presence in some of the UK’s global areas of interest,’ he added.
‘The commissioning of Spey demonstrates a further development to the Royal Navy’s role in global Britain where, later in the year in company with her sister ship Tamar, she will deploy to the Indo-Asian-Pacific region for the foreseeable future.
‘Once deployed, they will work closely with allies and partners to support maritime security in the region.’