HMS Trent departs on her first deployment

The most important day in HMS Trent’s short service career has seen her receive her Commissioning Order in a ceremony at Portsmouth Naval Base before departing on her first operational deployment this afternoon.

She has sailed for the Mediterranean to add her weight to NATO’s ongoing maritime security operation there. Sea Guardian deters international crime and terrorism and develops a picture of daily maritime activity by using a range of vessels and maritime patrol aircraft, all under the operational control of NATO’s Maritime Command at Northwood in Middlesex.

HMS Trent was built on the Clyde by BAE Systems and delivered to the Royal Navy in December. She hoisted the White Ensign immediately after arriving at her home base in Portsmouth and has since been through Operational Sea Training and a variety of workouts to prepare her for this deployment.

Our membership and commitment to NATO is the foundation of UK defence. By deploying HMS Trent to the Mediterranean, the Royal Navy will be supporting UK and NATO security with her patrols of the international shipping lanes and denying criminals and terrorists unchallenged use of the sea.

Commodore Craig Wood, Commander of the Royal Navy’s Surface Flotilla

She will train and patrol with NATO forces in the task group, work with other partners in the region to develop closer ties and provide a vehicle for the UK’s international engagement.

HMS Trent’s Commanding Officer, Lt Cdr James Wallington-Smith, said: “It’s my honour and privilege to take HMS Trent from the start of her career in the Royal Navy to her first operational deployment as part of a key NATO mission in the Mediterranean.

“The entire Ship’s Company have worked tirelessly in difficult circumstances during the Covid-19 pandemic to prepare HMS Trent for this day.  As we hold the commissioning ceremony and depart for operations, I could not be prouder of them and everyone within Portsmouth Naval Base and beyond who has helped us reach this point.

“We would normally have welcomed our families and friends from our affiliated communities and organisations to witness the ceremony today; sadly, we haven’t been able to but all of us appreciate the unwavering support they give us.”

The commissioning ceremony was witnessed by HMS Trent’s Lady Sponsor, Pamela Potts, Vice Admiral Chris Gardner, Rear Admiral Martin Connell and a small number of guests.

The band of the Royal Marines School of Music played, and the ceremony was conducted by Deputy Chaplain of the Fleet, Reverend Martin Evans, alongside Lt Cdr Wallington-Smith. The ceremony was sponsored by the Royal Navy Royal Marines Charity and the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association.

HMS Trent is the third of five River Class offshore patrol vessels to be built for the Royal Navy within a second batch which has been provided with upgraded capabilities. They are faster, more heavily armed, can accommodate more personnel and can crucially conduct helicopter operations with aircraft up to the size of Merlin, operated by the Royal Navy and other NATO allies.

The Ship’s Company has 65 ratings and officers with about two-thirds of them crewing the vessel at any time in a three-watch system. While two watches are on board the third watch can take leave or conduct personal and collective training and courses.

Watch rotations will take place within ports visited by HMS Trent, in common with the Royal Navy’s other offshore patrol vessels, which helps to keep them available at sea for about 320 days of the year.