The UK Royal Navy Batch 2 River-class Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) HMS Tamar has arrived in her home port of Portsmouth for the first time.
With the arrival, HMS Tamar became the fourth of five new OPVs to be delivered from the shipyard in Scotstoun, Glasgow, Scotland. The vessel will now spend time on tests and trials allowing her crew to become acquainted with her before they begin operational sea training together.
“In the meantime, the crew are ready to assist the Government as part of Defence’s contribution to tackling the coronavirus epidemic if called upon”, according to a Royal Navy statement.
Lieutenant Commander Mike Hutchinson, Commanding Officer of HMS Tamar, said: “It’s a great achievement for both the Ship’s Company and our partners in BAE Naval Ships who built Tamar to arrive at Portsmouth Naval Base and begin her generation to a multi-role patrol vessel.
“While many of our colleagues across the Armed Forces are already supporting the NHS during the immediate COVID-19 response, our current focus is on bringing Tamar to readiness so that the Royal Navy’s mission to protect our long-term national interests at home and overseas continues.”
HMS Tamar has the accolade of being the greenest vessel the Royal Navy has ever had. The ship has achieved the UK Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 3 status, an updated set of fuel and vehicle standards aimed at cutting pollution. She has been fitted with the Urea system which cleans up the emissions from the ship’s engines and generators. The urea filter will reduce damaging diesel exhaust emissions by about 90%.
Lt Cdr Hutchinson oversaw a breath-taking evolution of HMS Tamar, taking just four weeks from moving ship’s staff on board to sailing from Glasgow; a pace unseen in peacetime.
It is hoped a formal commissioning ceremony will take place at an appropriate point later in the year.
HMS Tamar’s other sisters are already taking on vital maritime security work, with HMS Forth patrolling the Falkland Islands and HMS Medway in the Caribbean.
She and her sisters are larger, faster and able to stay at sea for longer than many comparable vessels. She carries a 30mm main cannon, can conduct helicopter operations and can embark up to 50 personnel, in addition to about 40 crew.
Five refined River Class OPVs were ordered in 2014 to supplement those already in the Fleet. The final vessel, HMS Spey, is in fitting-out on the Clyde and will also be based in Portsmouth.