Offshore Patrol Vessels

It's an MPA in the sense it's an A, doing a P, over the M.
Published by: RN, on 25 April 2020.

HMS Tyne finds missing diver in Lyme Bay

Eagle-eyed sailors from HMS Tyne today helped save a diver’s life off the south coast of the UK.

The Offshore Patrol Vessel responded to a mayday call for the missing diver while on routine maritime security patrols in home waters.

The alert from Her Majesty’s Coastguard saw Tyne assist RNLI lifeboats from Exmouth and Lyme Regis, as well as two Coastguard helicopters, a dive boat and four local fishing vessels.

Tyne arrived in the area in Lyme Bay – around four miles off the coast of Seatown, Dorset – within 45 minutes of the alarm being raised.

The warship took up station in the last known position of the diver and sailors were called on to carry out a visual search.

After 20 minutes, Sub Lieutenant Andrew Boyle, a young officer under training on Tyne, spotted the diver.

Tyne then radioed the location through to the Exmouth lifeboat, who were in the best location to recover him.

The diver was found well and taken to safety by the lifeboat.

Lieutenant Nick Ward, the Executive Officer of HMS Tyne, said: “This incident is a great example of how versatile the vessels of the Offshore Patrol Squadron are.

“The ship’s company quickly adapted to a changing situation and worked to support the Coastguard, the RNLI and local mariners in carrying out the search.

“We are always concerned for the safety of our fellow mariners at sea, thankfully SLt Boyle spotted the diver and we were able to play a key part in recovering him quickly.”


Published by: SAVE THE ROYAL NAVY, on 19 June 2020.

Patrol boats for the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron.

This week two of the RN’s 32-year old P2000 patrol boats were loaded onto a ship for delivery to Gibraltar. They will replace the existing Gibraltar Squadron patrol boats, HMS Scimitar and HMS Sabre, pending the delivery of brand new vessels.


HMS Scimitar and HMS Sabre are armed with two GMPG mounts on the stern with ballistic protection for the crew. (HMS Sabre, October 2011)

A long wait for new boats.

In June 2018 the MoD issued a request for expression of interest in tendering to construct two new Gibraltar Patrol vessels. The new craft will have improved performance over the existing boats, having a top speed in excess of 35 knots and be capable of day and night operations and all weathers up to Sea State 6-7. Despite two years without any further news, we understand that the project remains on track to deliver as planned, probably in late 2021. An official announcement is likely to be made shortly about which contractor has been selected and the design of the new boats.

Although Gibraltar is known for fine weather, the area can be subject to strong winds and the sea conditions are tough on small boat hulls at high speeds. To meet the military specifications and provide a stable weapons platform requires more than just purchasing an off-the-shelf boat design.

In the meantime, HMS Dasher and HMS Pursuer will be transported to Gibraltar by MoD-chartered Ro-Ro vessel, MV Hurst point. The 18-knot P2000s are both older and slower than the 32-knot vessels they are temporarily replacing but are bigger, have better accommodation and longer endurance. Unfortunately, if their primary role will be to deter Spanish incursions and intercept fast smuggling boats, then they are not as well suited as Scimitar and Sabre. (It should be noted that P2000s have served in Gibraltar previously).

HMS Scimitar and HMS Sabre are the smallest ships commissioned into the RN, having been run hard since they were built in 1993 for counter-terrorism patrols in Northern Ireland. They are known to be close to the end of their useful lives and will be returned to the UK.


HMS Pursuer being loaded onto MV Hurst Point at Marchwood, Southampton, 17 June 2020 (Photo: AW Ship Management)

Despite their age, HMS Dasher and HMS Pursuer are in good condition, along with all the RN’s P2000 vessels they have recently undergone a life extension programme which will allow them to serve into the 2030s. The old twin Perkins CV12 engines were replaced by two Cat C18 ACERT diesels with new gearboxes and generators fitted. New stern tubes, shafts and propellers have also been installed. The exteriors have been repainted with high-performance epoxy paint and a modern fendering system has been fitted.

HMS Dasher and HMS Pursuer were previously assigned 1st Patrol Boat Squadron(1PBS) and attached to the University RN Units at Bristol and Glasgow respectively. The 1PBS has recently been re-named the Coastal Forces Squadron (CFS) in line with the wider fleet transformation programme but full details of this reorganisation have yet to be formally announced by the RN.

Prior to 1PBS service, Dasher and Pursuer were allocated to the Faslane Patrol Boat Squadron between 2010-12. Before being based in Scotland they both served in the Mediterranean between 2003-10 as part of the RN Cyprus Squadron. Their main role was to prove force protection for warships and commercial vessels. For this task, they were both fitted with Kevlar armour which remains in place today, along with and mounts for up to three General Purpose Machine Guns.

In February 2020 the RN published an article stating that a batch II OPV, HMS Trent, would be permanently forward-deployed in Gibraltar. Subsequently, the article was amended and the official line remains today that no decision has yet been made.

Should one of the OPVs eventually be based in Gibraltar, this would be very much welcomed by residents of the territory but she would be unlikely to play much part in policing Spanish incursions into local waters. An OPV would likely spend most of the time further afield around the Mediterranean and West Africa with Gibraltar being used for maintenance and crew rotation. Although a warship has a greater symbolic presence than a boat, patrolling the small area of territorial waters around the Rock is a job for much smaller, more nimble vessels. Changing patrol boats that are a like-for-like replacement will have little wider impact but the optics of basing a new warship in Gibraltar would much more be politically sensitive.

Spanish incursion problem unsolved.

Spanish vessels continue to flout international the law by repeated incursions on an almost daily basis into British Gibraltar territorial waters (A tiny area extending just 3 miles off the coast). This includes ships of the Spanish Navy, (playing the national anthem over loudspeakers), police and commercial vessels which often make dangerous manoeuvres which can be a hazard to other shipping. Brexit has been seen as a green light by the Spanish to further put pressure on Gibraltar with 18 naval incursions alone recorded in the last 6 months. A notable low came in 2016 when a Spanish Police vessel twice tried to cut across the path of a US Nuclear submarine in Gibraltar territorial waters. HMS Sabre fired warning flares in response.


Outmatched? Spanish naval vessel SPS Vigia makes an incursion into British Gibraltar Waters. Shadowed by HMS Sabre, 2 April 2020 (Photo: ©David Parody)

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Published by: RN/MoD, on 22 June 2020.

HMS Pursuer and Dasher prepare for Rock mission.

There are two new, temporary guardians of the Rock: P2000s HMS Pursuer and HMS Dasher.

Over the coming weeks the patrol craft will take over from Her Majesty’s Ships Scimitar and Sabre which have been the mainstay of the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron for the past 17 years.


Scimitar and Sabre are being replaced after nearly 30 years’ service – they spent a decade in Northern Ireland before being transferred to Gibraltar in 2003 – under the wide-ranging programme to upgrade the RN’s small boat flotilla, which has already seen HMS Magpie and new work boats at HMS Raleigh delivered.

and Pursuer are considerably larger and more complex vessels to maintain and operate than Sabre or Scimitar, so the latters’ crew can get used to the new craft (among the differences, there are cabins, mess, galley and bunks on the P2000s as well as a rarely-used enclosed bridge).


The 18-knot P2000s are both older and slower than the 32-knot vessels they are temporarily replacing
So, they have replaced state of the art BMWs and replaced them with a couple of scrapyard Skodas? No wonder the Spanish regularily hand RN their arse on a plate.
So, they have replaced state of the art BMWs and replaced them with a couple of scrapyard Skodas? No wonder the Spanish regularily hand RN their arse on a plate.
once was a time when Spanish incursions were disuaded by a very beligerent 36kt Destroyer chasing a Spanish E boat around the bay with evil intent to run it down.
once was a time when Spanish incursions were disuaded by a very beligerent 36kt Destroyer chasing a Spanish E boat around the bay with evil intent to run it down.
Really don't need the RN there at all, just the Royal Regiment and a few decent Coastal Batteries. They will only do it once.
spain flag.jpg


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