It is commonly claimed that there are no Royal Navy vessels based in or present within Scottish waters, despite the presence of frigates, submarines, patrol vessels, other craft and a major Royal Navy base.
The claim centres around what appears to be a significant misunderstanding of what Royal Navy vessels actually do.
A recent and prominent example of this (which will be explored as the articles goes on) is from Alan Brown, Member of Parliament for Kilmarnock and Loudoun, and was asked during an Oral Answers to Questions session on Defence in the House of Commons, on the 26th November:
“If we look at the here and now, the Defence Committee report, ‘On Thin Ice: UK Defence in the Arctic,’ confirms that the UK should focus more on its operability and presence in the Arctic. Right now, there are currently no Royal Navy vessels in Scottish waters and no indication of any resources being applied. Should not the Minister be doing more to protect Scottish waters?”
Mark Lancaster, The Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, replied:
“Let us be clear, there are lots of Royal Navy vessels in United Kingdom waters and, of course, any implementation of a Scottish strategy would be done within the realms of a United Kingdom strategy. I am pleased to say that earlier this year, for example, I visited HMS Trenchant on ICEX, in which it was the first British submarine in over 10 years to serve under the ice. Only this year we have had Royal Marines training in Norway. That will continue year on year, and they are training US marines. I am quite comfortable, and I am grateful for the Defence Committee’s report, ‘On Thin Ice’ as a result of which our activity is increasing.”
The claim has (as shown above) morphed into there simply being no surface vessels in Scotland of any kind, major or minor. The continued outrage this claim fosters appears to result from people not willing to do their own fact checking.
The claim that there are no surface vessels based in Scotland is false and to be frank, irrelevant. The nuclear submarines are primary anti-surface and anti-submarine platforms in the Royal Navy and Faslane hosts most of them.