Royal Navy patrol ship is officially ready to take to the open seas after a special ceremony in Ross-shire on 19 June.
HMS Spey has been formally commissioned into service after months of operational sea training, and docked in her affiliated town of Invergordon for the event.
Her 45-strong crew – who described her as a “2,000 tonne Swiss Army knife” – lined up on the deck for the ceremony, which included a spectacular fly-past from RAF Lossiemouth’s Poseidon team.
The 295ft vessel is the fifth and final of the second-generation River Class vessels built for the Royal Navy on the Clyde.
Commanding officer of the ship Lieutenant Commander Ben Evans described his pride at bringing the vessel back to its Scottish homeland, but admitted it had not all been smooth sailing.
He said: “I’m extremely proud. This is an idea that came up in 2019 when the ship was first named in Glasgow to make our commissioning ceremony happen in Scotland, on a Scottish ship, built in Scotland with Scottish links.
“I think it’s been tough for everyone in the country with Covid-19 but we have maintained output and we have achieved everything we needed to do. We have achieved operational status in four months which is a fantastic effort by my ship’s company.
“Now we are ready for operations and the commissioning ceremony is an important milestone as we are placed into active service.”
About HMS Spey
HMS Spey can accommodate up to 60 sailors and up to 50 embarked forces such as the Royal Marines and Special Forces.
Her flight deck is large enough for a Royal Navy Merlin helicopter.
It also has a huge show of force, housing one Seahawk A2 30mm Chain Gunn, two Mark 44 Miniguns and four General Purpose Machine Guns.
In a matter of weeks, the vessel will deploy from its home port of HMNB Portsmouth, bound for the Indo-Pacific Asia, visiting destinations including New Zealand, Australia and Singapore.
I would urge you to relish in the adventures which are yet to come.”
Rear Admiral Simon Asquith, Commander Operations.
Scottish Secretary Iain Stewart said: “Introducing the Clyde-built patrol vessel HMS Spey into active service once again shows that not only does defence play a crucial role in the security of the United Kingdom, but it also contributes to Scotland’s prosperity through employment and investment.
“HMS Spey will always have a close bond with her affiliated town of Invergordon, but her foreseeable future is in the Indo-Asian-Pacific region where she will be deployed as part of the Royal Navy’s role in Global Britain.”
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