Historic Moray link to the Royal Navy recognised with HMS Spey

Speyside link for the Navy’s offshore patrol boats.

A NEW OFFSHORE PATROL vessel commissioned by the Royal Navy is to be named ‘HMS Spey’ in honour of one of Scotland’s greatest rivers.

The Ministry of Defence has revealed the decision this week for the new ship which is part of a £287million contract to build two vessels.

A spokesman said that the name follows a Royal Navy tradition of recognising the service, history and battle honours of ships with the same name. Since 1814, seven ships have been named after the River Spey and this name for this particularly ship is especially fitting, given she is being built in Scotland.

Minister for Defence Procurement, Harriett Baldwin, announced the contract this week shortly before pressing the button at the Govan shipyard to cut the first steel on HMS Tamar, the sister ship of HMS Spey, which is also being procured under the new contract.

Both HMS Tamar and HMS Spey are part of the latest batch of Royal Navy ships to join the River Class; others in the batch include HMS Forth, HMS Trent and HMS Medway, all of which are currently at different stages of construction at the shipyards in both Govan and Scotstoun.

Work on the five new vessels is sustaining 800 jobs at shipyards on the Clyde through contracted work and by guaranteeing the crucial manufacturing skills needed to build the Navy’s future Type 26 Frigates.

Additional jobs are sustained at more than 100 companies across the wider UK supply chain for the OPV programme. The five new River Class ships will begin to enter service in 2018, in support of the Royal Navy’s mission to protect national interests at home and around the world.

Ms Baldwin said: “This contract will deliver two more modern Offshore Patrol Vessels, HMS Tamar and HMS Spey, for the Royal Navy and safeguard vital shipbuilding skills and hundreds of jobs in Scotland.

“Protected by a rising Defence budget, the OPV programme is an important part of the Government’s £178 billion plan to ensure our armed forces have the equipment they need.”

Chief Executive Officer at the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support Organisation, Tony Douglas, said:

“This agreement will deliver two more Offshore Patrol Vessels which the Royal Navy will use to protect the nation’s interest at home and around the world.

“These modern ships will have a versatile flight deck, improved firefighting equipment and greater storage and accommodation than previous vessels, giving UK sailors a decisive advantage on a huge range of operations.”

Like the other vessels of its class, the new ships, which will carry out counter-terrorism, anti-piracy, anti-smuggling and maritime defence operations, are expected to be equipped with a 30mm cannon and a flight deck capable of receiving a Merlin helicopter.

Displacing around 2,000 tonnes, they will have a maximum speed of 24 knots and will be able to sail 5,500 nautical miles before having to resupply.