The final of five new Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol vessels, HMS Spey (P234), has formally joined the UK Royal Navy fleet in a short ceremony to raise the White Ensign for the first time.
Spey’s first Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Ben Evans, said: “It is such a privilege to lead Spey’s complement through the coming trials and training programme and bring her to operational status. In spite of the considerable disruption caused by the pandemic, the Royal Navy has received the fifth and final offshore patrol vessel and our job now is to prepare ourselves and Spey for whatever operations we are assigned.”
No guests were invited for the ceremony to change the Blue Ensign – denoting a ship in government service – for White, and only essential personnel were on board with Spey, which is expected to depart Portsmouth next month for the first time.
Spey will need to complete a series of safety and readiness checks, successfully complete about a month of Operational Sea Training later this year and then she can be formally commissioned into the Fleet like her sisters HMS Tamar and Trent did during 2020.
HMS Tamar and Trent are both on operations in UK waters, Trent having returned from her second deployment to the Mediterranean. The first two Batch 2 River Class, HMS Forth and Medway are deployed to the South and North Atlantic respectively.
The second-generation River-class programme has delivered five warships inside six years, joining the original Rivers (HMS Mersey, Severn and Tyne), with the two most recently constructed benefitting from urea filters which reduce their nitrogen oxide exhaust emissions by 90 per cent.
With Spey’s handover the Batch 2 programme comes to an end, £44m under its original approved cost of £690m and on time thanks to effective collaboration between the MOD and industry.