The Royal Navy has tracked a Russian warship off the coast of France and monitored her movement through the English Channel.
HMS Mersey, an Offshore Patrol Vessel, was on routine security patrols in home waters when she was called on to locate and monitor the Russian Navy vessel – plus its support ship.
Portsmouth-based Mersey tracked the Russian vessel, Steregushchiy-class corvette RFS Boiky, closely as she sailed into the Channel after taking over from the French Navy.
Mersey watched every movement as the corvette linked up with RFS Akademik Pashin, an auxiliary vessel, to refuel and transfer stores, before getting underway again.
Commanding Officer of Mersey, Lieutenant Commander Will Edwards-Bannon RN, said: “Working to preserve the maritime security of the UK has always been one of the Royal Navy’s very highest priority missions throughout our long history.
“The need to fulfil this mission hasn’t changed with the coming of the COVID-19 pandemic so, although we are living and working in slightly different ways on board to limit the risk from the virus, HMS Mersey’s fantastic ship’s company continues to work hard to protect our nation’s interests.
“This work includes the close monitoring of foreign warships operating near to our shores, which is what we – along with our sister ship HMS Tyne – have been doing so far on this patrol.”
Sub Lieutenant Zac Connor RN, Mersey’s new Gunnery Officer and one of the bridge team involved in this operation, said: “I have only recently joined the Mersey and I’m happy to be using the world–class training that I have received for real. I am proud of what we do, the important role that the Royal Navy has and the contribution that we make to the UK.”
Lt Cdr Edwards-Bannon, added: “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the friends and families of HMS Mersey for all of their support to us on board.
“Many of our friends and family members are now on the front-line themselves, helping the nation win the fight against COVID-19.
“All of us in Mersey are incredibly proud of their efforts and grateful for the sacrifices that everyone is making on the home-front while we are out here at sea, doing our own bit to protect our nation’s interests.”