HMS Mersey begin 2021 with demanding operations and training

Patrol ship HMS Mersey has hit the ground running in the first fortnight of 2021 with intensive operations and training around the UK.

Damage control exercises, casualty handling drills and mechanical breakdown training – all while the Portsmouth-based Offshore Patrol Vessel patrolled her beat around the British Isles – has seen the ship’s company worked hard and ready for any eventuality.

Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Will Edwards-Bannon, said the new year had begun as the old one ended – with his ship in demand, and his men and women rising to the challenge.

“I couldn’t be prouder of Mersey’s fantastic ship’s company,” he said. “Having successfully achieved a remarkable range of tasking over 2020, this diverse team – comprised of regular and reserve members of the RN from all across the Commonwealth and UK – have hit the ground running once again in 2021. 

“Adapting quickly to the evolving challenge of operating amidst a global pandemic, the team’s ‘can do, safely’ attitude and discipline have helped keep both ourselves and our families safe while maintaining Mersey’s on-task, ready to protect our nation’s interests.”

Mersey has also trained with a team of Royal Marines from 42 Commando and 47 Commando, who kept themselves razor sharp for operations in board and search, counter-piracy/smuggling/terrorism around the globe with drills while the ship sailed off the south coast of the UK.

The ship has worked closely with her fellow ships of the Overseas Patrol Squadron since departing on her mission on New Year’s Eve after a period of maintenance before Christmas.

 

I couldn’t be prouder of Mersey’s fantastic ship’s company. Having successfully achieved a remarkable range of tasking over 2020, this diverse team – comprised of regular and reserve members of the RN from all across the Commonwealth and UK – have hit the ground running once again in 2021.

Lieutenant Commander Will Edwards-Bannon

Five of the Royal Navy’s next generation of Warfare Officers have also been aboard, spending time learning their trade as Second Officer of the Watch on the busy ship’s bridge. 

There, they were able to experience what it takes to lead the Bridge Team while also ensuring that Mersey was in the right place at the right time for her operational commitments. 

One of the trainees, Sub Lieutenant Emma Morley, said: “I have really liked the variety offered by my short time in the RN so far.

“I have already had the chance to serve on operations in the Middle East and am now enjoying the opportunity to experience a different class of ship operating in UK home waters. I look forward to joining the Fleet as a warfare officer later this year and seeing where the RN takes me next.”

The young officers also got stuck into learning how to use a sextant – for those unfamiliar with this, this is a device for measuring distances between objects and especially for taking altitudes in navigation and surveying and is something Lord Admiral Nelson would have been familiar with.

Something he would have been entirely unfamiliar with is the electronic charting system aboard Mersey that the officers used to check Mersey’s positioning as part of their busy training programme. 

Of course, it wasn’t all bridge work for the young officers and they mucked in with everything from bringing supplies on board while alongside and fighting floods and fires during training as members of the Standing Sea Emergency Party – a group dedicated to reacting to emergencies on board. 

With continual patrols and training, Mersey’s chefs have been keeping the ship’s company running with a varied menu. Not an easy job with the ship rolling in wintry seas.

As is usual, the chefs are also first aiders on board and have been active during training serials to make sure they’re ready to react to any medical emergencies on Mersey.