Just a fortnight after HMS Westminster kept close watch on destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov sailing through the Dover Strait, patrol ships HMS Tyne and Severn were on hand to constantly observe the same warship, plus patrol vessel Vasily Bykov and two support vessels as they headed in the opposite direction.
The Portsmouth-based ships intercepted the Russian ships on the edge of UK’s area of responsibility and remained in company with the quartet through the English Channel, through the busy Dover Straits and into the North Sea, handing over to the Belgian Navy when the force entered their area.
The submarine-hunting Kulakov is based with the Russian Northern Fleet on the Kola Peninsula, while the Bykov had sailed all the way from the home of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, Crimea.
The Royal Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessels are proving their worth with yet another successful operation in defence of our Home Waters. These highly capable Ships and their crews are always on watch protecting our Nation’s interests all year round.Armed Forces Minister James Heappy
The monitoring mission came on the back of a circumnavigation of the UK by Tyne, training Royal Navy navigators, in particular in the confined waters of the Western Isles, passing under the Skye Bridge and through the turbulent waters of the Gulf of Corryvreckan and its infamous whirlpools, ending around the Isles of Scilly.
“Once again River-class Offshore Patrol Vessels have demonstrated their versatility,” said Tyne’s Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Richard Skelton.
“We have quickly transitioned from Maritime Security Operations to internal navigation training and then to shadowing Russian warships – all of which is designed to ensure our nation’s security.
“This pace and level of activity is common for Tyne; during our last patrol the ship intercepted Russian warships soon after completing an exercise with our Irish counterparts.”