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Patrol ship Spey underlines importance of Commonwealth security role in Asia

Patrol ship Spey underlines importance of Commonwealth security role in Asia
15 February 2024
Patrol ship HMS Spey paid her second visit to Malaysia in three months to underline the UK’s commitment to the defence and security of the region.

Having completed a month’s patrol of the Indian Ocean and her first visit to India and Sri Lanka, the Portsmouth-based warship headed for Penang – about 170 miles north of the Malay capital to work with the Royal Malaysia Navy and support the long-standing Five Powers Defence Arrangements.

Established more than half a century ago against the backdrop of the ‘withdrawal from east of Suez’, the arrangements comprise a series of agreements between five Commonwealth nations - Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the UK – involving the defence and security of Southeast Asia.

The RN regularly takes part in exercises – typically the annual Bersama Lima workout – under the five-powers banner to ensure the military of the participating states can work together seamlessly and learn from one another.

In addition, the UK maintains a permanent presence in Penang through its support to the Headquarters Integrated Area Defence System (HQIADS) which, among other duties, oversees those exercises.

Spey’s crew hosted a series of tours for Royal Malaysian Navy personnel to look around and participated in a series of meetings with Five Powers partners to discuss further cooperation in the region; the patrol ship and her sister Tamar are on an extended mission across the Indo-Pacific to underscore the renewed importance of the region to UK security and prosperity.

And there was a capability demonstration followed by a reception and traditional Sunset ceremony for Malaysia’s naval leaders, VIPs and High Commissioner Ailsa Terry as Spey once again acted as a floating ambassador for UK plc in an overseas port.

“Maintaining security in this region is of global significance,” the patrol ship’s Commanding Officer Commander Paul Caddy stressed.

“It has been an important opportunity to support the UK’s commitment to the Five Powers Defence Arrangements and understand how we can deepen our cooperation with Malaysia.

“Building on the strong connections between our people, and our shared history and values as fellow Commonwealth members, I believe there is huge potential for the UK and Malaysia to work more closely together, tackle shared challenges and uphold the international rules-based system.”

The visit also allowed some down time for the ship’s company to explore central Malaysia before their ship begins a sustained period of operations.

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