The Royal Navy’s newest vessel HMS Tamar has raised the White Ensign from her deck for the first time and takes her place as a Fleet warship.
Uniquely conducting the ceremony on her namesake, the River Tamar, the very distinctive Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV), bears two rampant red lions either side of her superstructure, representing her close affiliations with both Devon and Cornwall.
Over the past few weeks, the ship has been operating around Plymouth Sound and the South West sea training areas, carrying out her acceptance trials and a series of firsts for the ship and her crew. These has included the first helicopter landing - a Wildcat from Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, her first gunnery exercises, as well as boat drills and emergency exercises, that has put the crew through their paces.
HMS Tamar also has the distinction for being the ‘Greenest Ship in the Royal Navy’ - fitted with ‘catalytic converters’ which reduce nitrogen-based emissions from her engine exhausts by up to 95 per cent. She weighs in at 2,000 tonnes, has a 6,000 mile range and a flight deck capable of carrying a Merlin helicopter. She also has accommodation for up to 50 Royal Marines Commandos and is considered by her crew as the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of Royal Navy vessels.
Lieutenant Commander Michael Hutchinson, Commanding Officer of HMS Tamar said; “It’s an incredibly proud moment for the ship. We’ve generated really quickly, we’ve done all our training and now we are at the point where we can join the Fleet, and start to get ready for our first deployment later this year.”
Affiliated to the Cornish City of Truro, Councillor Bert Biscoe the Mayor Truro has sent his best wishes to the Ship.
“On behalf of the community of Truro, the elected members and establishment of Truro City Council, and all those for whom Truro is home and a workplace, may I convey the good wishes and congratulations to the Captain of HMS Tamar on the auspicious occasion of its commissioning into the Fleet.
“The River Tamar is the oldest cultural boundary in Europe, and it is fitting that the vessel carries the name of the River which bonds, as a son to his mother, the Duchy of Kernow to the Crown. “Long may she patrol and protect us one and all – Tamar bys Vykken!”
Lady Brigitte Peach, the Lady Sponsor of HMS Tamar also sent a goodwill message on the raising the White Ensign for the first time.
“Congratulations to you all on the outstanding achievement of your transition to a Warship proudly bearing the famous White Ensign. From the wonderful moment of her launch just over a year ago, I followed your excellent progress from build acceptance to a fighting platform.
“Of course, current circumstances have prevented me from being with you at sea and for the memorable moment of the raising of the White Ensign, but I am there with you in spirit and continue to follow your progress with interest. I look forward to joining you when and where circumstances permit, my best wishes for an exciting future. Fair winds and following seas to you all.”