The MoD has authorised the deployment of HMS Mersey to the Aegean.

According to a Ministry of Defence press release, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has authorised the deployment of HMS Mersey to the Aegean in support of NATO activity to counter migration.

“This is a significant extension of the UK contribution reflecting our continuing commitment to tackle illegal people trafficking and migration in the Aegean Sea. The announcement comes as the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg confirms the international effort is working with numbers crossing being reduced by around 90% – from several thousand per day to tens.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

“British ships have been at the forefront of the progress made in the Aegean – helping to disrupt people trafficking routes and save lives.

We must now continue to focus on stopping this trade in human misery for good.”

The announcement that HMS Mersey would join the NATO activity until the end of July was made by the Prime Minister while in Warsaw for the NATO Summit.

HMS Mersey, an Offshore Patrol Vessel, will provide the taskforce with enhanced ability to work closer to the shore line and greater agility – the specific capabilities the operation’s commander has asked for.

NATO ships are working closely with Greek and Turkish coastguards, alerting them to sightings of migrant vessels crossing the Aegean and enabling them to turn them back or prevent them attempting the dangerous crossing in the first place. Our RFA ships deployed so far have proved highly effective at facilitating the coastguard in their important work.

NATO ships are working closely with Greek and Turkish coastguards, alerting them to sightings of migrant vessels crossing the Aegean, so they can intercept the migrant boats and disrupt the smugglers’ business model. Our RFA ships deployed so far have proved highly effective at deterring those attempting this dangerous crossing in the first place and facilitating the coastguard in their important work.

HMS Mersey will deploy to the Aegean from the Caribbean where she has been on counter narcotic operations. In April she played a key role alongside the Canadian Navy and US coastguard in a £12 million drugs bust where 304kg of drugs were seized.

The Defence Secretary recently visited RFA Cardigan Bay to see the Royal Navy’s impact on countering illegal people trafficking and migration in the Aegean Sea.”

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These stories really show how useful the new river class will be.

The low intensity missions appear to be on the raise and as the navy is stretched already, putting auxs / rivers on these types of roles seems sensible.

Just a shame they don’t have hangers, although if they did we would probably be pushed on airframes/pilots.


I agree re hangar & associated airframe/pilot concerns. Batch 2 do seem to have worthwhile enhancements but improved aviation facilities was a missed opportunity in my opinion. I know there is a school of thought that the RN actively didn’t want too much in case that allowed government to count them as front line assets and use them as an excuse to cut numbers elsewhere but, even with that in mind, for me the perfect compromise would have been to stretch Batch 2 enough to build in a 7 metre long “hanger”. That would give three potential extra capabilities 1… Read more »


While it’s no substitute for a helicopter I can see the new OPV’s being equipped with a UAV, a variety are available, not only Scan eagle & these would at least expand the surveillance and reconnaissance capability of the ships.
HMS Protector doesn’t have a helicopter but is equipped with a couple of UAV”s in the Antarctic so I expect lessons will be learned from that experience, and the RN has done some work in the shipborne deployment of UAV’s with Southampton University, so I imagine the utility and quality of these pilotless aircraft can only improve over time.

Ally Cooper

We are gojng to need bigger ships.

Ian Murray

No these are a good sized corvette for homeland and peacekeeping waters.

Ally Cooper


UK Defence Journal

Done, they’re building another 5.


3 to replace current batch 1 though so going from 3 x batch 1 + clyde (total 4) to Clyde + 5 x batch 2 (total 6). Still an improvement but only an extra 2. Then again, if T26 keeps getting put off we might get even more batch 2 but I’d be willing to bet that the first extra one (above the 5 already announced) would be a Clyde replacement so we would need another 2 added before we saw any increase above 6.

Ally Cooper

Yeh……when? 5….mmmmm

UK Defence Journal

Right now, the first is almost complete.

Ally Cooper

Put a 1 before the 5. That might help.

Ally Cooper

And then give them teeth.

Ally Cooper

Might as well put a squadron of rubber boats up. Doesnt detere the Spanish.

Ian Murray

The Spanish don’t need deterring. They know the sanctions they face.

Ally Cooper

Im sure they repeated that in 36.

Ally Cooper

Looooook. We need a NAVY. Not an excuse.

David Anthony Simpson


jon livesey

Agreed. Amateurs talk about ships. Professionals talk about crews, fuel, logistics, maintenance.

Just building more ships can give you more problems than it solves.

William Richardson

Good old Fishery protection Sqdn we need a few more of these ships along with crews this class of ship are ideal for patrol duties as a like the island class good sea boats that’s if you have the strong guts no good for anyone that suffers from sea sickness

Hi WIlliam, they’re building 5 more.

Good news I was on lindisfarne from 1981 until 1985 great ships and could take the weather happy days

Cammy Hunter

Those patrol ships instead of getting scrapped when the new ones are built soon, should be put in the Mediterranean helping deal with the migrant crisis!

Bloke down the pub

Post Brexit, if the UK chooses to reclaim control of its fisheries, we’ll need more opvs just to keep Spanish trawlers out of our waters.


I suspect the Spanish navy will have an equal problem with our fisherman.

A mess waiting to happen.


Have the extra 2 been confirmed and order placed or just promised?

I assume they will have to start building them from next year, once HMS Forth is finished.

David Steeper

The Navy may not rate them but they impress me.

Eddie Garlick

Wow, that will deter aggression!

Davisd Steeper

Wow didn’t realise I was a troll or spammer. Thanks bye.

Andrew Perrin

rn in trouble little fishery ships doing frigate work simply not the standard we exspect of our country and our navy, we needf a sustained building programme and plenty of ships, most of our goods and imports come by sea we are an island, 70 years worrying about Europe when commanding the sea is more important