HMS Medway sets sail for the Caribbean

The crew of offshore patrol vessel HMS Medway have today set sail to take on one of the Royal Navy’s significant standing commitments.

They are being forward-deployed to Atlantic Patrol Tasking (North), a mission which focuses on providing reassurance to Commonwealth and British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean, disrupting the flow of smuggled narcotics and supporting humanitarian relief efforts.

HMS Medway is the second of the new River class vessels to depart for this type of patrol task; her sister ship HMS Forth arrived in the Falkland Islands earlier this month to take up station there.

HMS Medway’s Commanding Officer, Commander Ben Power, said: “It has taken an extraordinary effort to get Medway ready to deploy. Since leaving Scotstoun in June last year we have conducted the fastest generation of a surface ship in recent memory – this has only been possible due to the commitment, loyalty, grit and hard work of my superb ship’s company. I am indebted to them and their families.”

By forward-deploying the newest patrol ships in the Fleet in this way, the Royal Navy will be able to retain its more complex and capable vessels for high-end tasks such as escort duties for capital ships and anti-submarine operations. 

HMS Medway is relieving RFA Mounts Bay, a ship designed for amphibious landing operations which has been on patrol for nearly three years.

While the OPVs will remain on task, members of the ship’s company will spend 10 weeks on the ship and then four weeks off in rotation. Because the ship’s company is greater than the crew required to take her to sea, personnel can take leave, complete promotion courses and undertake training while ensuring the ship remains on station.

The second batch of OPVs built for the Royal Navy are faster and bigger, providing enough space for a flight deck and accommodation for 50 additional personnel. The flight deck is large enough to support the Fleet Air Arm’s Wildcat and Merlin helicopters.