News story: Royal Navy prepares for future UK fishery patrols

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
RIP
A few random points:

The primary purpose for which the RN and its ships are funded is WAR. Everything else is a fill-in while we wait for war to turn up and even then other excursions bite into training. If you want a coastguard and constabulary service, that's not the RN.

The old (fifty years ago?) CMS- based RNR relied in part on the need to maintain in reasonable running order more CMS than, without a war, we actually had jobs for. We had built way over a hundred of the things in the early and late 1950s, partly due to a panic about half-milligauss mines that had made the existing minesweeping force obsolete. So we had eventually a surplus some of which were sold, some were reused for tasks like Cyprus Patrol and HK security - jobs for which they were far from ideal but once we had the CMS there could be no money for more appropriate craft - some were placed in reserve and some were given to the RNR and some went fish-bashing (again not optimal for the task). We even had five permanently assigned to doing trials for the Underwater Weapons Establishment.

Fish-bashing is a full-time job, not one for people to do on weekends and occasional two-week cruises. The old fish-bashers were based in Scotland which is a bit far from civilisation for the generality of volunteers.

The comparison with the RNLI is risible, they do not spend nights let alone weeks away.

Fundamentally if Govt wants Fishery Protection it has to fund it properly with a permanent set of vessels and permanent professional (civilian) crews.
 

jim30

LE
But surely we actively don't want any sort of combat capability to patrol the coast and chase fishing boats? For anything more than shouting I'd expect the OPV to shadow at a distance and phone for the grown ups.



Absolutely - mad to even think of it. I do think there's a disconnect when idiots like me talk about OPVs and what you old sea dogs are talking about.

How does said OPV know what to look for, how does it get there, how does it stay at sea, how is it tasked, how does it relay appropriate intelligence etc etc and more to point, why is a part time force of volunteers who may not be available to take the ship to sea when needed going to solve this problem?
 

jim30

LE
A few random points:

Fundamentally if Govt wants Fishery Protection it has to fund it properly with a permanent set of vessels and permanent professional (civilian) crews.

An excellent post - and one which reminds me of the oft forgotten Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency which does exactly this work - Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency - Wikipedia
the-scottish-fisheries-protection-agency-vessel-the-sulisker-and-hms-A9F054.jpg


Plenty of other OPV like vessels run by local fishery protection agencies in the UK too - sucvh as here - Association of Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities

Fisheries_Inshore_Patrol_Boat_Saint_Piran.jpg
 

JCC

LE
How does said OPV know what to look for, how does it get there, how does it stay at sea, how is it tasked, how does it relay appropriate intelligence etc etc

I don't know how the current odds and sods that carry out coastal patrols manage that side of things. I'm not fixed on RNR maybe a single separate Coastguard would be better.

... and more to point, why is a part time force of volunteers who may not be available to take the ship to sea when needed going to solve this problem?

I suppose there'd have to be a FT element - see above. Maybe the Coastguard should have a PT element? It has become apparent to me the the RN aren't mad keen on the whole idea; I thought they'd grab the chance.
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
But surely we actively don't want any sort of combat capability to patrol the coast and chase fishing boats? For anything more than shouting I'd expect the OPV to shadow at a distance and phone for the grown ups.



Absolutely - mad to even think of it. I do think there's a disconnect when idiots like me talk about OPVs and what you old sea dogs are talking about; I do like idea of the Archer with a suitable sun deck and pool.

How is that going to relieve pressure, you would need a grown up crew and vessel sitting around waiting for a call, where would they be based? Say the OPV notices something amiss in the North Sea, Newcastle way, are they expected to wait for frigate to pootle up from Portsmouth?
 

Yokel

LE
I think there is a crossing of wires here, between the OPVs doing fishery protection, MAGD, and other things, and a sort of Gibraltar Squadron type unit for major ports.
 

Truxx

LE
Apologies if it has already been covered (and also playing devils advocate) but surely this is a role for a contracted company? After all the RAF/RN are no longer in the SAR business.
 

JCC

LE
How is that going to relieve pressure, you would need a grown up crew and vessel sitting around waiting for a call, where would they be based? Say the OPV notices something amiss in the North Sea, Newcastle way, are they expected to wait for frigate to pootle up from Portsmouth?

I don't think hostile boarding would be in their remit - shadow and call the police to intercept on land maybe. Realistically we're talking about unlicensed fishing boats, smugglers and illegals so I can't see the small OPVs calling for RN help that often.

Mostly we're talking about patrolling the south coast, Irish Sea and lower North Sea so while the proper fisheries protection vessels are needed for the northern waters I would have thought a couple of dozen Archer class types would be fine for the rest and we're going to need something very soon.

Maybe not - I've learnt a lot today
 

jim30

LE
I don't think hostile boarding would be in their remit - shadow and call the police to intercept on land maybe. Realistically we're talking about unlicensed fishing boats, smugglers and illegals so I can't see the small OPVs calling for RN help that often.

Mostly we're talking about patrolling the south coast, Irish Sea and lower North Sea so while the proper fisheries protection vessels are needed for the northern waters I would have thought a couple of dozen Archer class types would be fine for the rest and we're going to need something very soon.

Maybe not - I've learnt a lot today

So what you are describing is essentially the inshore fisheries system that already exists then?

My point about archer class is that they are very limited in where they can go and when due to the weather constraints. If you want to intercept someone you need timely accurate intelligence to find them, then monitor them in the act to secure evidence to gain a prosecution. Having a P2000 sitting three miles astern isn't going to cut the mustard here.
 

JCC

LE
So what you are describing is essentially the inshore fisheries system that already exists then?

I think so - but we're going to need more something when (if) fisheries comes back to UK. I've learnt that the RN doesn't want it and lots of different people do bits of it so maybe a beefed up Coastguard is the answer.

It's academic as it'll not happen.

My point about archer class is that they are very limited in where they can go and when due to the weather constraints. If you want to intercept someone you need timely accurate intelligence to find them, then monitor them in the act to secure evidence to gain a prosecution. Having a P2000 sitting three miles astern isn't going to cut the mustard here.

Do smugglers etc, or most of them, not suffer from the same weather. But I accept your expertise wrt intelligence and monitoring.

That said I still fancy one of those Archers.
 

jim30

LE
I think so - but we're going to need more something when (if) fisheries comes back to UK. I've learnt that the RN doesn't want it and lots of different people do bits of it so maybe a beefed up Coastguard is the answer.

It's academic as it'll not happen.



Do smugglers etc, or most of them, not suffer from the same weather. But I accept your expertise wrt intelligence and monitoring.

That said I still fancy one of those Archers.

Wait till you've been at sea in rough weather in a P2000 - then you will be glad never to set foot on one again.
 

JCC

LE
Wait till you've been at sea in rough weather in a P2000 - then you will be glad never to set foot on one again.

Oh I wouldn't go out in it - I'd park it in the marina and try to get young ladies to aboard. If you'd stop being so selfish I could get a uniform as well.
 
D

Deleted 3147

Guest
I suppose they'd gain a greater manpower pool in a renewed RNR, a lot of small ship handling posts and skills, and reconnect with a lot of communities that they have lost touch with.

I'm with @History_Man in that if we had one or two dedicated patrol vessels in NI, say one in Belfast and one in Derry, I think you'd be beating potential PT & FT RNR from the door; ditto the rest of the UK.

Go back read what I wrote about the rationale against this (#72). In the MSF days we had dedicated support staff at each RTC where there was an assigned MSF. Yes they doubled up as PSI but they had a considerable loading and time away in what we would now consider "harmony" posts.

12 MSF, with the PSI's needed for ME and WE routine work during the week - we simply couldn't replicate that today and the MarRes couldn't support it even with only two or three vessels.

The biggest inhibitor is the introduction of Standards of Training and Certification of Watchkeeping (STCW). back in the day it was a relatively slow but easy process to get a Bridge Watchkeeping ticket in the RNR, standards were quite low - I speak with experience as a Watchkeeping qualified MWO from those days.

Typically you'd be in for 3 possibly 4 years, putting in plenty of weekends and weeks away before you could be tested. STCW 2010 changed all that, I would suggest it would be almost impossible to generate that SQEP from the MarRes and you're unlikely to get sufficient Merchant Mariners STCW qualified to provide the crew.

This isn't about the RN not wanting - it's about realism - the role isn't a Naval role, it's a constabulary role that the RN have been squeezed into for want of a properly resourced/constructed agency.

You also need to consider what the RNR of the 80s/90s was all about, it was to supplement the RN in Transition To War/War. The EDATS minesweeping role was something that could be practised and perfected over time. It largely didn't matter that quite often you had a transient and mixed crew each week, you just picked up the training/drills applicable to the bulk, with a huge amount of cold moves/alongside training. Availability of hulls for operational tasks was quite low.

The constabulary role that fisheries requires I don't believe is conducive to the way MarRes operate - you need consistency of training to be safe to operate.
 
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seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
RIP
Some people are writing here as if 'inshore waters' like the Channel and the Irish sea are not rough and would be easy-peasy all the time for a P2000. The only time I thought my Coastal - and they went on their own to the Cape and HK and all over - was going to fall to bits was a leg between the Needles and Portland. I was in a Towex once off St Catherine's Point and the towee, a 2000 ton destroyer, had to spend six weeks in Pompey being patched up after that one afternoon's work.
 
D

Deleted 3147

Guest
Ah that's the antecedent of my nonsense; consider me educated. It's all hot air really - no matter what happens we're not going to do anything anyway.
I think there will still be a push to consider manning a single perhaps two platforms. Not sure what it will prove.
 
This isn't about the RN not wanting - it's about realism - the role isn't a Naval role, it's a constabulary role that the RN have been squeezed into for want of a properly resourced/constructed agency.
Pity the MOD, the SoS and the 1SL don't agree with you
 
I still don't understand why the Navy is so against the RNR picking up this task provided it is properly funded or should we establish a proper, separate US-style Coastguard?
To quote Commodore Maritime Reserves last year "I could man an OPV with RNR tomorrow, but id break the RNR to do it for more than 6 months."
 

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