The White Ensign has been raised for the first time on HMS Spey, the final of five new Offshore Patrol Vessels, as she formally joined the Royal Navy.
No guests were invited for the short ceremony on Thursday to change the vessel’s Blue Ensign to White, with only essential personnel on board.
Lieutenant Commander Ben Evans, HMS Spey’s first Commanding Officer, said: "It is such a privilege to lead Spey’s complement through the coming trials and training programme and bring her to operational status.
"In spite of the considerable disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic… our job now is to prepare ourselves and Spey for whatever operations we are assigned."
The ship was delivered to HMNB Portsmouth in October from BAE Systems’ shipyards on the Clyde, Scotland, for the final stages of construction before her crew took custody of her.
HMS Spey will need to complete a series of safety and readiness checks, as well as about a month of Operational Sea Training later this year, before she can be formally commissioned into the fleet.
The first two Batch 2 River-class vessels, HMS Medway and Forth, are both on patrol tasks in the North and South Atlantic respectively.
HMS Spey is expected to depart Portsmouth Naval Base for the first time next month.
Cover image: HMS Spey, the Offshore Patrol Vessel, alongside in 2 Basin, HMNB Portsmouth, as she joins the Royal Navy (Picture: Royal Navy).