UK: HMS Mersey Gets New Commander

HMS Mersey Gets New Commander

Portsmouth based Fishery Protection Vessel HMS Mersey closed one chapter and opened another today when Lieutenant Commander Sarah Oakley took over from Lieutenant Commander Mark Anderson as Mersey’s Commanding Officer.

Lieutenant Commander Oakley joined the Royal Navy in 1995 after reading a degree in Modern History at Trinity College, Oxford. After initial training at Britannia Royal Naval College, Sarah’s first complement appointment was to HMS Alderney as the Gunnery Officer and British Seas Fisheries Officer.

Further seagoing appointments followed as Officer of the Watch 1 in HMS Kent and Navigating Officer in HMS Norfolk before Principal Warfare Officer Training.

Upon qualification Lieutenant Commander Oakley returned to sea as the Above Water Warfare specialist and later as the Operations Officer in HMS Chatham, serving on OP Telic in the Gulf.

Lieutenant Commander Oakley has since returned to the Gulf both as Operations Officer of the Combined Task Group Iraqi Maritime and, most recently, to Bahrain as part of the Combined Task Force 150, responsible for Counter Terrorism.

Of taking command of HMS Mersey, Lieutenant Commander Oakley said

“I am delighted and extremely proud to take command of HMS Mersey.

“I have been looking forward to this moment throughout my career as a warfare officer and I am determined to lead my ship to the best of my ability.”

Lieutenant Commander Oakley assumes command at the start of an extremely busy period as Mersey is beginning a month of Operational Sea Training.

Based in Scottish waters and operating out of Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde, the ship will undergo a rigorous training programme designed to test the ship’s capabilities across the wide spectrum of activities the ship could be expected to perform during any of her routine patrols in British waters.

This will include firefighting, damage control and search and rescue tasks as well as a thorough assessment of the ship’s navigation capabilities.

HMS Mersey is one of the three ships which make up the RN’s Fishery Protection Squadron, enforcing on a daily basis UK and EU fisheries legislation in order to ensure the long term sustainability of the UK fishing grounds.

The three UK based Ships are the only Government Vessels (excluding the Nuclear Deterrent) on permanent patrol around the UK, contributing to the policing of UK waters and delivering an intrinsic element of the UK’s Maritime Security.

Naval Today Staff , June 7, 2012; Image: Royal Navy