Type 23 Frigate HMS St Albans has escorted a Russian cruiser through the English Channel. 

The Royal Navy announced this morning that the Type 23 frigate, currently tasked with protecting UK waters, has been tasked to keep watch on Russian Slava-class cruiser Marshall Ustinov.

The Russian vessel – accompanied by an auxiliary ship and tug say the Royal Navy – recently left the Mediterranean and has been tracked by French warships through the Bay of Biscay.

Recently, the UK Defence Journal reported that Spain had refuelled the cruiser, despite fresh sanctions against Russia.

Commander John Cromie, the Commanding Officer of HMS St Albans, said in a news release:

“As the fleet ready escort, HMS St Albans is held at high readiness to respond to any foreign warship that might represent a potential threat to the integrity of UK waters. 

In this instance the interaction between St Albans and Marshall Ustinov has proven both cordial and professional, reflecting the mutual understanding of customs that exist between professional mariners. 

My crew are however trained to the very highest standard and are prepared to respond to any eventuality.”

HMS St Albans reportedly deployed her Merlin helicopter to observe the movements of the task group as they navigate along the south coast of the UK.

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Does every Russian warship have its own accompanying tug? ?
Perhaps in any future conflict we just simply need to focus on sinking the tugs ?

captain P Wash.

Sinking the Tugs Is a great Idea, just like sinking the Dry Dock Ships !


Nah, we should send our own tug and claim salvage rights when it inevitably breaks down.

Daniele Mandelli

We could double our fleet overnight.

Let’s get some ourselves and deploy them with the parent mother escort.

Fitted with SAM, Sonar, and all the rest. Small heli pad for drones too.

Glass Half Full

Escort Tugates?

Daniele Mandelli

Why not? Lol could they be autonomous and act as decoys too?


I hate to say it but a type 23 frigate is no match for a Slava class cruiser.

If it came to a slug out, St Alban’s subsonic harpoon missiles would only punch small holes in the cruiser, Whereas the Just one of the Slavas SS N 12 supersonics, SSMs would send St Albans to the bottom.

The UK and Nato are falling behind in terms of capability thanks to penny pinch politicians, Tardiness of the MOD and greedy/inefficient contractors.


I fail to understand why we tolerate Spain bunkering Russian warships. The FCO is a waste of time.


Bit much blaming the FCO for this. NATO should be protesting


At some point putin has to stop sending these antiques to sea, I’m getting embarrassed for him. I note that Spunik and RT are on the media offensive against the RN now after the story about the SSN off Cyprus etc.

But even the Russians bots and trolls have a hard time defending these Russian vessells sailing round the world with their own tugs.


Do they have a self propelled floating junkyard to follow them too? Might be a novel way of getting rid of all their rotting hulks around their coast and would fit in beautifully with their other ‘soft’ hostile activities, i.e. play ball or we dump it all off your coast. Rather like they have already done with the Anti Doping organisation amongst others, if they want them to stop hacking their IT.


Are we sure that St Albans was only just escorting these ships. According the the Daily Mail and other renowned papers, she was scrambled at short notice for a very serious threat. I sometimes wonder if I enjoy reading the screaming rants of the national rags, or well reasons websites that specialise in that area of expertise. I suspect that apart from messing out their weekend, the crew are enjoying a nice run out for a few days.


I hate to say it but a type 23 frigate is no match for a Slava class cruiser.

If it came to a slug out, St Alban’s subsonic harpoon missiles (220kg warhead) would only punch small holes in the cruiser, Whereas the Just one of the Slavas SS N 12 supersonic (1000kg warhead), SSMs would send St Albans to the bottom.

Our armed forces need some cutting-edge kit ASAP


Royal Navy Type 23 frigate escorts Russian cruiser and it’s tug through the English Channel.

Basically the naval equivalent of helping a frail old lady cross the road!

Mr Bell

Hi Steve- except this old lady has just been off protecting Assad’s regimen, supporting the deployment of chemical weaponry on civilian populations and generally being a rather bad character- so a psycho granny with a chainsaw is the way I would look at this ship and its crew.- the Russians probably are blissfully unaware of how messed up Putin’s regimen is.

David E Flandry

Only Russia would need a tug accompanying its warships.

The riddler

There’s always a preened statement from some CO about how readiness is this and the Manning is that etc etc. Incredibly boring. A lesson or two could be learnt from the Jim ‘fuck with me and I’ll kill you all’ Mattis school of sound bites


In a hypothetical situation, if a Russian warship were to start sinking of natural causes, would the British escorting ship go and help it out and rescue the crew?

Geoffrey Roach



Yes we would, because we’re nice and civilised like that.

Matt H

Plus salvage rights, of course.


Perhaps the Royal Navy can reinstitute the practice of taking ships as “prizes” ?

Daniele Mandelli

Great idea!


Only problem is that any Russian ship we took would be a booby prize!

captain P Wash.

Of Coarse It Would and so would theirs.


Yes, it would. It would be great for propaganda purposes: Britain saves the sinking bear.
And of course it would be the humane thing to do.

Why do you think the Russians refused British and Norwegian help with the submarine Kursk? It would have looked incredibly bad. In the end they showed their ineptness, and Putin kept holidaying. One of his biggest PR failures to date. But how the Russians seem to forget these events.


The Russians didn’t forget, they never knew in the first place! With Putin controlling the media he’d have probably told the Russian peole that the world refused to help them. Or that we offered to help but only to get hold of their secrets.


We are obliged by international treaty to do so, even for an enemy combatant which Russia would not be.

P tattersall

What’s the scrap price these days . Good job they didn’t refuel in Ireland white van man would have a field day .

captain P Wash.

White Van Man ? I’m Confused mate, are you possibly referring to some other type of tipper Driving Gypsy Type ?

Steve Taylor

Aerflot’s biggest support facility used to be at Shannon.

George Amery

Hi folks hope are all well. Yes of course the RN would help and rescue a desperate Russian ship. We have a reputation of coming to the aid of anyone or any nation despite any military or political difference. That’s what makes us the nation we are!

Mr Bell

Where did we put those sea Eagle anti ship missiles? are they still in storage? what I mean is could we dust them off put them onto typhoon or tornados and use them if the shit hit the fan. We have literally no capable platform for sinking surface warships except the astute and Trafalgar ssns and they would be hard pressed facing down Russia’s 70+ subs.
Come on HMG- Norwegian ship missile all the way- it is the only solution until Perseus is in service in the 2030’s…or never as being joint funded by France.

Paul T

Mr Bell-i don’t know for sure but I’d guess any Sea Eagle missile’s are long gone,de-milled and disposed of, unless anyone can shed more light on the subject.


States within this article the missile was withdrawn from service in 2000 but it can be stored as a round of ammunition sans control surfaces and inspection every two years for up to 15 years, Lifetimes on such missiles can often be extended. There’s the possibility (small) they’re still stored somewhere.