HMS Forth pays inaugural visit to Firth of Forth

There hasn't been much sign of sunshine on Leith recently, but there was the sight of HMS Forth, which arrived on the Firth of Forth to support the Royal Navy during this year’s Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

The Offshore Patrol Vessel, which entered service last year, was paying an inaugural visit to her namesake river for a nine-day stop-over.  The 2,000-tonne ship and her 60-strong crew of Royal Navy sailors will lower their gangplank to host Reservists from HMS Scotia, Sea Cadets from Edinburgh, visitors from Glasgow Science Centre, as well as guests of the Royal Navy attending the Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle.

“Since HMS Forth came into service last year we have been hard at work putting her through her paces during sea trials both in home waters and in the Mediterranean.  She is an extremely capable vessel and I am really proud of the crew’s achievement in getting her ready for operations.” Said Commander Robert Laverty, Commanding Officer of HMS Forth.

The ship has strong Scottish connections: not only is she the first of five Batch 2 Offshore Patrol Vessels built on the Clyde by BAE Systems, but she is named after the River Forth and affiliated with the City of Stirling.

While alongside Leith, many of the crew will have the chance to visit the Scottish capital and enjoy the sights, including a tour of Edinburgh Castle courtesy of Governor General Alastair Bruce.

“While alongside we’re getting a chance to enjoy Edinburgh and take on a few Fringe shows,” said Able Seaman Craig Pollock from Hamilton.

A Royal Navy Reservists with HMS Dalriada in Govan, AB Pollock decided to join for challenge and excitement.

“I was bored sitting at a desk all day and decided that I was going to become a Reservist,” he said.  “The reason I chose the navy was because they had the best advert,” he joked, “and of course the chance to travel.

“I joined HMS Forth around 12-months ago and it has been a steep learning curve.  I was immediately into flood and fire exercises, which were really demanding, but I’ve enjoyed every minute.  We’ve been in Gibraltar and shadowed a Russian ship through the Channel.  It really beats sitting at a desk all day!  I’m looking forward to the next challenge when we become the Falkland Islands Patrol Ship.”

It is a pleasure to sail HMS Forth into the Firth of Forth for the first time. The crew are really looking forward to spending a few days alongside and meeting affiliates and showing them around the ship.

Commander Robert Laverty, Commanding Officer of HMS Forth

While at Edinburgh, sailors on board HMS Forth will also pay a visit to the City Chambers where they will call on The Lord Provost.

HMS Forth is due to replace HMS Clyde later this year as the Falkland Island Patrol Vessel, operating in the South Atlantic as the Royal Navy’s standing commitment to the Islands.

High sea states, strong winds and the distance from the UK mean that the South Atlantic Overseas Territory presents one of the harshest working environments of any deployment.

The Royal Navy keeps a vessel on constant patrol around the challenging waters, conducting routine visits and offering reassurance to the small settlements scattered throughout the island chain.