Navy

The Debate: Was The Navy Right To Use Patrol Boat For Russian Interception?

After the Royal Navy used patrol ship HMS Mersey to monitor a Russian spy ship task group passing the UK, rather than a larger ship like a...

After the Royal Navy used patrol ship HMS Mersey to monitor a Russian spy ship task group passing the UK, rather than a larger ship like a destroyer or frigate, social media users have kicked off a fierce debate.

HMS Mersey and a Wildcat helicopter from RNAS Yeovilton were dispatched to follow the progress of three Russian warships as they made their way through the Channel.

The Russian spy ship Feodor Golovin, landing ship Alexander Ostrakovskiy and tanker Yelnya have been supporting Russian operations in Syria and are believed to be returning to their base ports in the Baltic and Barents seas.

HMS Mersey broke off from a regular fishery protection patrol in home waters in order to meet the Russian vessels as they approached the Channel, taking over from the French Navy.

This sparked a fierce debate on social media, with many people sharing their opinions on whether or not the move was a symptom of cuts to the Armed Forces...

 

And some went even further...

 

 

The Royal Navy, for its part, kept to the facts:

 

 

And BBC Defence Correspondent Jonathan Beale didn't seem to think it was anything to worry about...

 

 

Nor did the crew of HMS Mersey:

 

 

And one veteran thought the same:

 

But Luke Skipper, the former chief of staff for the Scottish National Party's Westminster Group, wasn't impressed:

 

 

Lieutenant Alexandra Karavla, the patrol ship's Executive Officer, said:

"Ships like HMS Mersey are the eyes and ears of the Royal Navy around the UK – we are at sea for 320 days a year, so Mersey provides the Navy with a ship ready to respond at short notice like this.

"Although her routine business is patrolling UK waters and helping to enforce fishery legislation, HMS Mersey was tasked to locate, meet and escort the ships through the English Channel."

We want to know what you think though - let us know in the comments below or on our social media pages...

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