Month of firsts for fifth patrol ship HMS Spey

It has been a busy month of firsts for the Royal Navy’s newest patrol ship.

HMS Spey has spent the past few weeks at sea preparing for Basic Operational Sea Training (BOST) and during that time, the vessel has ticked off milestone moments.

That includes the first time at sea for a number of her ship’s company, the first helicopter landing on her flight deck courtesy of a Wildcat from 815 Naval Air Squadron, the first firing of all her weapons since officially joining the fleet and a maiden visit to Plymouth.

It was also the first time HMS Spey has trialled the three-watch manning system that will become standard procedure when she deploys.

On her way to Plymouth, the Offshore Patrol Vessel met up with her sister ships HMS Trent and Tamar.

Lieutenant Commander Ben Evans, Commanding Officer, said: “Our first few weeks at sea have enabled us to galvanise as a team and fully test our abilities and the capability of this modern and very capable ship.

I am privileged to be in command of such a fine ship, and a great group of individuals

Lieutenant Commander Ben Evans, Commanding Officer of HMS Spey

“I am privileged to be in command of such a fine ship, and a great group of individuals who have achieved nothing but success in our relatively short time together.

“I am thankful to our families and friends who have supported us throughout, and look forward to achieving more firsts in the coming weeks as we look forward to an exciting deployment.”

While in Plymouth, HMS Spey will undergo training under Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) to ensure she’s ready for operations.

To prepare for FOST, the ship and her sailors have been working hard to make sure they can face any situation they might face while deployed. The varied training package covered aviation, force protection, live firings, navigation, medical, and seamanship.

Engineering Technician (WE) “Dinger” Bell was at sea for the first time. He said: “This is my first time at sea in the Royal Navy after completing Phase 2 training which was extended due to COVID-19. I have found it to be fast paced, rewarding and I am really enjoying my time on board.”

Once Spey has completed her BOST, she will continue preparations for deployment later this year.

She is the fifth and final Batch 2 River-class Offshore Patrol Vessels. She joins sisters HMS Forth, Medway, Tamar and Trent. With a 20m flight deck, the ships are capable of embarking a Merlin helicopter and can perform a range of tasks from counter-piracy to disaster relief.