Sea vessels

HMS Spey Sails Under White Ensign For First Time

The next generation River-class Offshore Patrol Vessel is starting the next phase of tests, trials and training.

The Royal Navy's fifth and final next-generation River-class Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV), HMS Spey, has sailed under the White Ensign for the first time.

The ship's venture into the Solent marked the beginning of her journey to joining her sisters as a fully-fledged member of the Overseas Patrol Squadron.

Her ready for sea date inspection was recently passed, allowing the 90-metre patrol vessel out for the start of the next phase of tests, trials and training.

Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Ben Evans, said: "The ship's company and I have been enjoying a succession of firsts with HMS Spey, and there will be more to come as we build towards the excitement of our first operational deployment."

That deployment is yet to be announced, with the ship and her crew still having to complete Fleet Operational Sea Training later this year. 

HMS Spey sailing into the Solent (Picture: Royal Navy).

HMS Spey, the final of the second-generation of River-class ships built for the Royal Navy, arrived in Portsmouth for the first time in October under the Blue Ensign as a ship in public service.

She was yet to enter the Royal Navy, but that changed in January when the White Ensign replaced the blue.

The 2,000-tonne patrol ship is expected to be ready for operations by early summer and will undertake general patrol duties, anti-smuggling taskings and provide humanitarian relief where it is needed.

Once operationally active, she will be the eighth River-class vessel in Royal Navy service.

HMS Forth and HMS Medway are currently on operations in the South and North Atlantic and Mediterranean respectively, with the other vessels deployed to UK waters.

Cover image: HMS Spey passes Fort Blockhouse on her first voyage under the White Ensign (Picture: Royal Navy).