HMS Medway ready for duty after Commissioning Ceremony

HMS Medway has been officially welcomed into the Royal Navy with her Commissioning Ceremony at Chatham Dockyard today.

The Portsmouth-based Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) sailed to the docks in Kent on the River Medway – the waterway she’s named after – for the ceremony and is now ready to deploy where the navy needs her most.

The new warship – the second of the five Batch 2 River class OPVs – welcomed guests and the families of the ship’s company for the service and for tours of the ship, while locals lined the banks to watch the ceremony in the sunshine.

Commander Ben Power, the ship’s commanding officer, said: “It is special to be commissioning this ship here on the River Medway, an area that has an incredibly strong connection with the Royal Navy going back to the 16th Century.

“We have a part to play in the very bright future of the Royal Navy. Medway is a very fine ship, she’s slick, fast and agile.”

HMS Medway and the new OPVs provide much greater capability, including a flight deck, increased top speed and longer endurance at sea.

The better endurance of HMS Medway and her fellow class ships means they can be deployed overseas as well as in home waters.

They will undertake a variety of roles, including counter-terrorism, anti-smuggling, maritime defence and counter-narcotics as well as securing the UK’s borders and protecting UK interests around the globe.

Today marks the culmination of five years of hard work. Getting HMS Medway to this point has taken huge effort and it has been incredibly rewarding to deliver a brand new warship to the Royal Navy.

Commander Ben Power

The first steel for HMS Medway was cut by BAE Systems in June 2015 in Glasgow. The ship’s company then moved on board in May 2019 and the ship first sailed in June, joining her sister ship HMS Forth in Portsmouth.

HMS Medway then began sea trials that were completed in just 75 days which according to naval records is the shortest time since World War II.

Ship’s sponsor, Lady Fallon, who named the ship at Scotstoun yard on the Clyde, attended the ceremony.

Addressing the sailors, she said: “I have been following the progress of Medway since 2015 and we’ve had a number of milestones since then.

“Now on this beautiful day, having completed her recent sea trials, in record time, here we are at another milestone here in historic Chatham.

“After all the hard work over the previous years I’m so pleased that all of you are here and have the opportunity to join together and celebrate this commissioning.”

The Batch 2 OPV programme of five state-of the art vessels represents a Ministry of Defence investment of £648m providing 800 jobs for Clyde shipyard BAE workers; retaining their skills whilst demonstrating new production processes vital to the production of the Royal Navy’s new Type 26 Frigates. All five Batch 2 OPV’s are to be delivered to the Royal Navy by 2021.