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HMS Medway sails from the Rock

David Parody

One of the Royal Navy’s newest offshore patrol vessels, HMS Medway, sailed from Gibraltar yesterday bound for the Caribbean for a long-term deployment.

The ship will be based in the Caribbean, with crews rotating every 10 weeks rather than bringing the ship back to the UK every six months.

HMS Medway is being forward-deployed to Atlantic Patrol Tasking (North), a mission which focuses on providing reassurance to Commonwealth and British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean, disrupting the flow of smuggled narcotics and supporting humanitarian relief efforts.

She is relieving RFA Mounts Bay, a ship designed for amphibious landing operations which has been on patrol for nearly three years.

“New patrol ship HMS Medway paid her first visit to the Rock – and potentially her last for many years – with a whistle-stop weekend stay before striking out into the Atlantic to begin her long-term mission,” a Royal Navy spokesperson told the news website Plymouth Live.

“The second of the UK’s five new River-class patrol vessels left Portsmouth at the beginning of last week to take up permanent station in the Caribbean as part of the Navy’s new ‘forward presence’ initiative – basing ships long-term around the globe and rotating crews every few weeks, rather than bringing the vessels back to the UK every six or so months.”

“In Medway’s case, the mission is Atlantic Patrol Ship (North), a task performed admirably and expertly by RFA Mounts Bay for the past three years: humanitarian aid in the event of hurricanes, supporting the international fight against drug trafficking and reassuring citizens of British territories peppered around the North Atlantic/Caribbean that the mother country is there for them.”