Navy

HMS Tamar 'Ready To Police The Seas' After Intensive Board And Search Training

The patrol ship was declared operational in the summer, having been built just six months before.

HMS Tamar has been declared ready to police the seas for the Royal Navy after completing intensive board and search training.

The new patrol ship received the thumbs up from naval assessors as she worked with the Royal Marines to board and search mock suspect vessels in the Channel.

Specialist boat drivers from 47 Commando, Mike Company from 42 Commando and a Wildcat helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron joined HMS Tamar on the exercise, practising drills on HMS Echo.

During search and board exercises, as many as eight crew are required on the flight deck, while four sailors oversee the launching of the ship's seaboat, manned by half a dozen crew.

Tamar is part of the second generation of River-class Offshore Patrol Vessels, designed for maritime policing, boasting a sizable flight deck capable of accommodating 50 marines or soldiers.

The patrol ship was declared operational in the summer, having been built just six months before.

Her patrol ground has yet to be decided and, until then, she will be trusted with home waters, the Royal Navy said.

Lieutenant Commander Hutchinson, the vessel's Commanding Officer, said: "The bang for your buck that you get out of these ships is remarkable - each week we learn a little bit more about what these ships can do.

Marines during the board and search exercises in the Channel (Picture: Royal Navy).

"The whole point of the River-class is that you can 'bolt on' capability: add a helicopter, some humanitarian aid, a Royal Marines detachment. 

"The commandos can rock up, eat and sleep in their own mess, prepare their kit and do the business."

The Royal Marines is preparing to undergo a transformation as part of the Future Commando Force modernisation programme.

It will see an emphasis on smaller, stealthy raiding groups deployable around the globe. Such groups will use ships like HMS Tamar.

"The Royal Marines have really got stuck in during their time onboard," Lt Cdr Hutchinson said.

"Not only have their actions been exemplary when they've been conducting boarding operations, but they've also got stuck in to help out my ship's company, down to cleaning the dishes and generally assisting on board."

HMS Tamar is now preparing for further training with the Royal Navy's new Puma surveillance drones from 700X Squadron.

Cover image: Board and search exercise in the Channel (Picture: Royal Navy).