Sea vessels

HMS Tamar: What's it like on board the Navy's 'greenest' ship?

HMS Tamar is the "newest, greenest" ship in the Royal Navy.

The Batch-2 River-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV) joined the fleet in June, raising the White Ensign from her deck for the first time, on the river in south-west England that shares her name.

This month, she was declared ready to patrol the seas after completing intensive board and search training.

Earlier this year, while the OPV stopped in London, we were given a guided tour around Tamar to find out more about her capabilities.

Firstly, the ship's engine room, which is like no other.

Two V16 main engines, nicknamed 'Pusher' (for 'Port') and 'Shover' ('Starboard'), generate the power which allows HMS Tamar to reach 30mph with a range of 5,000 miles.

What makes the vessel the Navy's greenest are the catalytic converters, which can reduce the ship’s nitrogen-based emissions by 75 to 90%.

The ship's engines are also covered in sensors to help reduce emissions.

It is the first ship to be equipped with the new technology.

And the bridge of HMS Tamar has also seen improvements.

Lieutenant Sam Kerridge has a background in OPVs and said while the equipment is quite similar between ships, "essentially, everything is a bit better" on Tamar.

As well as a more powerful navigation radar, the ship also comes with a GPS and encrypted GPS, something unavailable on the older offshore patrol ships.

"Being such a modern ship, we’ve just got the best of the best of the kit available," Lt Kerridge said.

HMS Tamar's weaponry includes personnel support weapons, such as the SA80A2 rifle and the glock pistol.

The ship also has a general-purpose machine gun, mini-gun and 30mm cannon at the front of the ship.

Able Rating Seaman James Rance, Ship Specialist, HMS Tamar, said the Navy are also looking at "replacing the general personnel machine guns with .50 cal" weaponry.

Another key area of the ship is the medical bay.

Leading Medical Assistant Rhiann Dilmore, HMS Tamar, said "the sick bay is exemplary" and comes complete with a private consultation area and examination area.

It also has a two-bed isolation ward, which can be used to separate members of the ship’s company and stop an outbreak of illness on board HMS Tamar.

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

The vessel can accommodate up to 51 Royal Marines or soldiers.

Cover image: Batch 2 River-class vessel HMS Tamar (Picture: Royal Navy).

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