ANGUILLA--The HMS Medway is relieving RFA Mounts Bay as the patrol ship to provide reassurance to Commonwealth and British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean, to disrupt the flow of smuggled narcotics, and support humanitarian relief efforts. The ship left the UK on January 21 to take on one of the Royal Navy’s significant commitments deployed to Atlantic Patrol Tasking. It is usual for the patrol ship to visit the islands, including Anguilla, during its tour of duty.
HMS Medway’s Commanding Officer, Commander Ben Power said: “It has taken an extraordinary effort to get Medway ready to deploy. Since leaving Scotstoun in June last year we have conducted the fastest generation of a surface ship in recent memory – this has only been possible due to the commitment, loyalty, grit and hard work of my superb ship’s company. I am indebted to them and their families.”
HMS Medway is the second of the new River class vessels to depart for this type of patrol task; her sister ship HMS Forth arrived in the Falkland Islands earlier this month to take up station there.
While the Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) will remain on task, members of the ship’s company will spend 10 weeks on the ship and then four weeks off in rotation. Because the ship’s company is greater than the crew required to take her to sea, personnel can take leave, complete promotion courses and undertake training while ensuring the ship remains on station.
The second batch of OPVs built for the Royal Navy are faster and bigger, providing enough space for a flight deck and accommodation for 50 additional personnel. The flight deck is large enough to support the Fleet Air Arm’s Wildcat and Merlin helicopters.