The Royal Navy has monitored seven Russian warships passing through the Channel.
The Royal Navy say that HMS Tyne, Severn and Mersey monitored the presence of seven Russian Federation Navy vessels as they sailed past the British Isles.
HMS Mersey met up with a trio of vessels – frigate Admiral Kasatonov, a supporting tug Nikolay Chiker and tanker Vyazma – off Ushant in France and stayed with them through the Channel and Dover Strait and into the North Sea.
“Her monitoring mission was made more challenging by adverse weather conditions such as high winds and large sea states which meant the Russian ships took longer than usual to pass through as they sheltered in more confined waters before resuming their journey. The primary role of Portsmouth-based Mersey and her sister Tyne is to ensure all fishing vessels operating in home waters abide by the rules and stick to UK regulations in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone on behalf of the Marine Management Organisation. With the River class typically at sea for ten months of the year, they act as the eyes and ears of the Navy around the UK, keeping an eye on any suspicious activity as well as monitoring the presence of any warships from countries of interest to Britain and her NATO allies.”
HMS Mersey’s navigating officer Lieutenant Thomas Bees was quoted as saying that “the Russian Federation naval vessels operated in a safe and professional manner throughout their transit.”
Before the Kasatonov group sailed through the Channel, Mersey worked in tandem with HMS Tyne to keep constant watch on another four Russian vessels sailing through the Channel towards the Atlantic, say the Royal Navy.
Three Ropucha-class amphibious ships and the frigate Boiky were located in the North Sea and closely followed through the Dover Strait and into the English Channel before reaching the North Atlantic.