HMS Trent makes big impact on her first month on Mediterranean mission

HMS Trent has shown the first-rate versatility of the Royal Navy’s newest patrol ships during her first month on operations in the Mediterranean.

The River-class Batch 2 warship has been on a diplomatic mission to Algeria, hosted Tunisian Special Forces and been on NATO security operations in southern European waters since she deployed just over a month ago.

The patrol ship left Portsmouth in March on an enduring deployment with a focus on security in Southern Europe and Africa, joining her sister ships dotted around the world in forward positions – from the South Atlantic, the Caribbean and, in the near future, the regions east of the Suez Canal.

Already Trent – one of five new Batch 2 River-class patrol ships built for the Royal Navy for patrolling missions far beyond the UK’s waters – has made her presence felt as she carries out missions from her base in Gibraltar. 

During a port stop in Algiers, Trent hosted representatives from the Algerian military, the British Embassy in the capital and Commodore Andrew Stacey – the commander of Fleet Operational Sea Training.

There, the British contingent laid important roots in the North African country before heading off on Operation Sea Guardian, NATO’s security mission to the Eastern Mediterranean. 

Trent was there to help gather information about movements in international waters and to deter and counter terrorist activity, supporting Turkish frigate Orucreis and later Italian frigate Margottini during their patrols.

Between these periods, the ship acted as a platform for the Tunisian Special Forces – the Unité Spéciale – Garde Nationale – to use for boarding exercises. 
Trent also worked with the Tunisian patrol ship, Joumhouria, on boarding operations and lifesaving/rescue exercises.

“It was exciting to see what our ship can be used for, and they invited us to train again with them,” said Engineering Technician (Marine Engineering) BJ ‘Sledge’ Hammersley of the training with the Tunisians.

“Not only has Trent provided a vital Royal Navy presence within the Mediterranean but has also strengthened military, as well as diplomatic relationships.

“For myself as a humble stoker, I don’t see much of the diplomatic processes. But I aid them in the preparation work and the work we as engineers do every day in keeping the ship running efficiently.

“Having been with HMS Trent from the early stages of build, generating her from just a shell of a ship into a fully operational warship, it was a tremendously proud moment seeing how much has been achieved in such a short time.”

Once these operations were completed, Trent headed for Crete and a short logistics stop (and some takeaway pizzas for the crew) before resuming her missions.
Trent’s time at sea has also allowed for essential training for her ship’s company.

Seaman Specialist AB Devon Burgin has qualified to hold watches on the bridge as the quartermaster while others have had time to complete task books to qualify in watchkeeping.

“The ship’s company is always conducting training with everything from machinery breakdown drills, sea boat drills to firefighting and damage control exercises in order to qualify personnel and refine the skills of those already qualified,” added ET Hammersley.

“The ship is also home to reservists Able Seamen Robyn McFadden and Karl Stephenson. They can conduct training and work with us as part of ship’s company away from their day job as civilians.” 

Lieutenant Will Burrows, the ship’s intelligence officer, has been running circuit sessions, keeping the crew in good shape, while Steward Dorcia De Freitas has negated that slightly by making banana fritters and pumpkin fritters using recipes from her mum in St Vincent.

“This is an area of the world that we hold close to us given the circumstances - our thoughts are with those who are going through difficult times there in the aftermath of the volcano,” added ET Hammersley.

The Caribbean island has recently been devastated after La Soufriere volcano erupted.

Trent is now in Cyprus and is now preparing for her next phase of operations, as the Royal Navy’s continual presence in the waters of Southern Europe and Africa. 

Not only has Trent provided a vital Royal Navy presence within the Mediterranean but has also strengthened military, as well as diplomatic relationships.

Engineering Technician (Marine Engineering) BJ ‘Sledge’ Hammersley