Early Christmas presence as HMS Trent debuts in Portsmouth

The third of the Navy’s new second-generation patrol ships today made her debut in Portsmouth.

Six days before Christmas, offshore patrol vessel HMS Trent entered Portsmouth Harbour for the first time after a maiden voyage in the hands of her ship’s company, who brought the 2,000-tonne warship down from the Clyde.

It’s taken more than five years from being ordered to being delivered to the Royal Navy, following her sisters HMS Forth – currently making her way to the Falklands as successor to HMS Clyde (returning home tomorrow after 12 YEARS in the South Atlantic) – and HMS Medway into service.

With HMS Tamar and Spey still to come, the quintet at the heart of the RN’s new ‘forward presence’ strategy, with the goal of permanently stationing the vessels in areas key to the UK’s military, political and economic interests around the globe: Caribbean, Mediterranean and Asia-Pacific region.

For now, however, Trent’s eyes are fixed on home waters and getting through trials and training ready to perform any mission from fishery protection through to anti-smuggling, border patrols, counter-terrorism and counter-piracy.

Aside from a crew of 40, there’s space for up to 50 troops/Royal Marines (who have their own mess facilities); the flight deck can accommodate Wildcat and Merlin helicopters; there’s a 30mm automated main gun; and flat out the engines push Trent along at a good 24kts.

Today is an important milestone in HMS Trent’s journey. The ship’s company and our partners in BAE Naval Ships have put in a tremendous amount of work to ensure she is ready to be accepted into the fleet. It is a great privilege to be the ship's first commanding officer and I am proud of what has been achieved thus far.

Lieutenant Commander James Wallington-Smith

“It is a great privilege to be the ship's first commanding officer and I am proud of what has been achieved thus far. Said Lieutenant Commander James Wallington-Smith.

“Trent now enters the next phase which will see her develop into a warship, being made ready for sustained patrol operations in the new year.”

Trent's newest joiner, Sub Lieutenant Hugh Brook, added: “It is an incredible experience to be part of HMS Trent's maiden voyage and I am looking forward to spending more time at sea driving the ship.”

HMS Trent is due to be formally commissioned next year in the presence of crew’s families, affiliates and Lady Sponsor Pamela Potts, who formally named the warship on the Clyde at BAE’s Scotstoun yard in March.

She joined Trent upon the ship’s arrival to see the Blue Ensign – the flag of a vessel in government hands – taken down and the White Ensign hoisted in its place, an historic moment in the warship’s history also witnessed by friends and family.

They welcomed Trent to South Railway Jetty – and were given a tour of the brand-new ship once the gangway was across.

Trent conducted her first sea trials over the summer, before returning to BAE for final tweaks and completion of fitting out ahead of the ship’s company moving aboard a couple of months ago to being turning Trent into a working warship.