The Royal Navy have announced that HMS Mersey has tracked the movements of a surfaced Russian submarine as it sailed through waters close to the UK.

According to a news release here, Mersey reported on the movements of the Russian Black Sea Fleet submarine so that NATO Allies could track her progress as she continued her onward journey.

“The River-class offshore patrol vessel was on watch as the Kilo-class diesel powered attack submarine RFS Rostov Na Donu sailed through wintry seas in the North Sea and English Channel on its journey from the Baltic to the Mediterranean.”

Commanding Officer of HMS Mersey, Lieutenant Commander Will Edwards-Bannon, was quoted as saying:

“All of us in Mersey are very proud of the part we play, here in our home waters, in fulfilling the Royal Navy’s role of protecting our nation’s interests. No patrol is ever the same as the last and we have conducted a particularly varied range of missions recently, culminating with the tracking of this Russian submarine as it passes the UK. You never know what’s around the corner when serving in these ships, but you can always rely on Mersey and her fantastic ship’s company, made-up of both regulars and reservists, to get the job done.”

The Royal Navy added that this latest operation comes amid a busy time for the Royal Navy’s patrol ships, with Mersey and her sister ships HMS Tyne and HMS Severn all on maritime security patrols in the seas around the UK.

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So much for the Navy having no need for these type of vessels as was so often made when the new Rivers were ordered to fill an order gap. Looks like they may need a few more.

Last edited 1 month ago by Spyinthesky
Captain P Wash

Recent statements seem to suggest more forward basing of RN Assets so yes, a few more would probably be good. Build them at Appledore.

Geoffrey Roach

Agree Captain…particularly the Appledore idea but I an biased. Ideal for the Gulf or Horn of Africa. With a Martlet pack and perhaps an HVM pedestal unit for anti-air and their helo they would be feisty little ships able to take on simple roles and increase the UK’s presence.


Our RN is ciminally short of hulls, so we “escort” the Russian sub with a vessel that would have no hope whatsoever if the sub dived. No anti-sub capability; neither detection nor weaponry. Besides which the sub could out-run our OPV. All she could do is rake the sub with close range weapons or vainly try to ram. In the highly unlikely event she ever did ram, she’d probably come off far worse than the sub. OK, I know it’s peacetime & this is more a courtesy operation rather than anything approaching combat, but we’ve become a laughing stock. Plus… Read more »

Andy P

Good to know Frank, just what would it take for us to not be a laughing stock, is there a scale for this ??? Asking for a friend…..


25-30 Escorts. New builds designed, properly equipped & delivered before old ones are withdrawn. Same with replacing capabilities without leaving capability gaps. We need competance & wisdom from our leaders that has been sadly lacking. Also a just tax system that doesn’t leave the richest individuals & corporations paying peppercorn tax while the ordinary majority pay several times more proportionately so we have the resources to run & defend a fair society. Since Thatchers time the tax regime has been turned on its head. Both parties have allowed that. We have wealth & resources but allow much of it to… Read more »

Andy P

and that will stop us being a laughing stock. I mean, we wouldn’t want people we’ve never met laughing at us would we.

I don’t disagree with your proposals, just not a fan of the am-drams.

captain p wash

“Am Drams” on this site ? Shirley not.

Andy P

There are and don’t call me Shirley…. 😉

Robert Blay

Comments like this are a laughing stock, not the RN.


Is there a reason for a Russian sub going through the straights into the med?
It’s an obvious way to identify it and track it.

Indeed, how can we assume it’s going into the med?


Its the fastest safest route for a surface transit, if it wasn’t going to the med the Russians wouldn’t have gone for a surface transit down the busiest shipping lane in the world.


Its the shortest route and Russian ships dont have the legs for the voyage around Africa most of the time.


As stated it’s going to rejoin/join their Black Sea Flt, It’s the shortest route to the Med. At some point UK assets will hand over to the French etc. It will be shadowed all the way round by various NATO assets until it reaches its destination. That’s how these things work.


Thank you. But I am curious how vulnerable a submarine is in the Black Sea.


It’s a good place for them to operate in, the only downside is the fact that the Sea only has one entry/exit point (via Bosporus Strait). The structure of the water column gives a SM a big advantage over a Warship.


But I believe that once they are in the Black Sea there is a specific treaty that stops them leaving unless it’s for repairs that cannot be undertaken in the Black Sea. The Montreux convention , which is one of the few restrictions in place in regards to strait transits, none Black Sea nation submarines are not allowed to transit the the straits into the Black Sea at all.

Daniele Mandelli

How interesting Jonathan. The Montreux convention has been touched on before here but not the submarine detail.

David Barry

Unlike their airforce counterparts do the Russian Navy deserve any kudos for travelling surfaced?

(I.m not a fanboy)

They would seem to observe the rules of the sea more than their light blue brethren.

Derek Moore

There is a very good reason why the Russian submarines transit the Channel surfaced. Most of the English Channel is too shallow for even a Kilo class to transit submerged.


The west has overflown the USSR/PRC regularly historically with many spy sorties, so, much as their buzzing the edge of our air space irks, we’ve not much of a leg to stand on. Probably landed & retreived agents by sub or fast boats too.

Mr Andrew J Poulton

Accepted convention is that submarines have to be oin the surface when navigating The Channel. It’s a v busy waterway and not overly deep too.

And a diesel/electric has limited duration underwater so most manoeuvring/transit would be on the surface

Last edited 1 month ago by Mr Andrew J Poulton

Interesting as military submarines are legally allowed to transit straits like the Channel in a submerged state.

its my understanding that it’s considered safer that way ( less chance of be rammed by random merchant shipping while transiting busy shipping lanes).

it does show the limits on the strategic mobility of conventional submarine vs nuclear boats.


In the case of DE submarines, it is the fastest way they have of getting about, as well as being a more relaxed passage for the crew.


Ah, Kilo class