Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Reprieve for Fisheries Protection Vessels - but no crews

The story so far ...

The UK had four lightly armed and armoured Offshore Patrol Vessels highly suitable for Norway to Gibraltar service on Fisheries Protection, Maritime patrol and SAR operations. These are known as Batch Ones. These are due to be 'replaced' by Batch Twos - battle-hardened and with enhanced combat versatility. The MoD were pretending that these were a replacement for the Batch ones but in fact they're destined for Gibraltar, Bahrain, the Falklands and the Caribbean to plug a Frigate-hole in the Fleet. The four Batch Ones were due to be scrapped or sold out of the Service, and indeed one of them, HMS Severn, has already gone. 

However, our esteemed and respected Sea Lords hadn't expected Brexit, and the need for enhanced patrol and protection of the UK's new 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone from 2020.

HMS Tyne

Well, good news - the three remaining Batch Ones, HMS Tyne, HMS Clyde and HMS Mersey are to be retained and 'kept in a state of operational readiness' - i.e. not crewed or stored, but not abandoned and cannibalised. Their Lordships will need a little extra budget to actually crew them.  

It's not just protecting our waters against Dutch and Spanish pirate trawlers stealing our fish. Since the dear old Nimrod ("Ten thousand rivets flying in close formation"*) went our near-coastal ASW capability has been compromised - and with the integrity of our underwater comms cables ever more essential to national security, we need to be extra vigilant. A combination of long-endurance drones and response vessels with RM boarding parties and RIB fast launch and recovery kit for both constabulary duties and escorting foreign warships making passage in and over our waters mean the Batch Ones will have a use for many years yet. 

*Oops - as SW points out, this refers to the Shackleton. Here's a pic of one. 


  1. Sebastian Weetabix17 April 2018 at 07:29

    Ten thousand rivets flying in close formation was the Shackleton. Amazing aeroplane. About as fast as the Rock of Gibraltar.

    The Nimrod was terrific. It should never have been scrapped by that fool Cameron.

  2. oops - sorry! Thanks for the correction

  3. This is about the first sensible news that we have had from the govt regarding brexit. HMS Severn only was decommissioned in Oct 2017, so surely can't be that far gone to be beyond a reasonable re-commissioning cost.

  4. "Ten thousand rivets flying in close formation was the Shackleton."

    That is pretty accurate, I don't know much about military stuff, but I took a tour of one of these at the Gatwick Air museum... They are very business oriented... No frippery.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. No frippery, right-writes? They had leather armchairs for all the crew! (aside from the pilot / co-pilot) - a bit threadbare in this photo, but you can imagine what they looked like in their prime


    mark you, on a 12-hour patrol you needed something comfy

    never flew in on myself: but once did an 8-hour sortie in a Nimrod. No leather seats: but stacked with really cool gadgets to play with - and an excellent, well-stocked galley!

  7. Good lord-it's a worse shambles than believed possible.

    Reports from Europe of countries training additional customs agents to copewith Brexit, but in sleepy yUK still no logical plan.

    The only assumption one can make is Davies clown show intends to indefinitely keep extending the "transition" period.

  8. Doesn't look good does it, a third of the crew for our new carrier, nicknamed "Big Lizzie", had never been to sea. Some really old hands amongst the ship's company - if anyone was watching the program on her this week? Some who were asked to rejoin the Senior Service are in their early 50's because they have the skills that were lost when those fools who govern us got rid of the last of the Invincible class. Carriers are incredibly complex so if are going to have them you need to decommission your old after you commission the new.


  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Just out of interest, does anyone have any idea what 'mothballing', for say 3 years, and then eventually recommissioning/upgrading those floaty things might cost ?

    And how would that figure compare with simply scrapping them and putting in a bulk order with an Far Eastern shipbuilder for not only Fisheries Protection boats but the fleet of Customs cutters boats the government needs to be building (we have 3 at the moment I believe?).

  11. Given the state of our roads in particular and our dreadful, woeful infrastructure, per se, this maritime debacle is one of many. Mind you the decline has gone along apace since we signed up to the EUSSR. Food for thought, I feel. Those membership fees have cost us dear in many, many ways.

  12. My theory is that the state of the roads in particular is a deliberate policy co-ordinated by all councils to generate support for an increase in tax "to fix the roads".

    I'll fetch me tin hat....