Two Royal Navy Ships to Visit Belfast, UK

Two Royal Navy Ships to Visit Belfast

Two Royal Navy ships will visit Belfast this weekend in support of the Armed Forces Careers Exhibition taking place at Holywood. Type 23 frigate HMS Kent and River Class fisheries protection vessel HMS Severn will both berth alongside at Pollock Dock.

Arriving first, HMS Severn will sail into port at 8am, followed by HMS Kent at approximately 10am – Severn will remain in Belfast until Wednesday October 17, while Kent leaves a day earlier.

The two ships will spend a hectic weekend hosting tours for young people from the Armed Forces Careers Exhibition – giving them an opportunity to get up close and personal with a modern warship, allowing them to hear all about life in today’s Royal Navy and how the work of the Senior Service protects the nation’s interests.

HMS Kent’s Commanding Officer, Commander Ben Ripley, said:

“We are delighted to be able to support the Armed Forces Careers Exhibition and it gives us the perfect opportunity to chat to young people who are thinking of making a career in the services.

“We hope that being able to visit both HMS Kent and HMS Severn will allow them invaluable insight into just some of the roles undertaken by the Royal Navy.

“The Type 23 frigates are a mainstay of the Royal Navy’s fleet and, at any one time, Kent or her sister ships could be involved anywhere in the world in tasks as varied as counter-piracy and delivering humanitarian relief.

“It is this diversity which we look forward to sharing with our young visitors.”

Lieutenant Commander Marcus Hember, Commanding Officer of HMS Severn, continued:

“It is always a pleasure to visit Belfast and we hope that our guests will find their tour interesting.

“The Fisheries Protection Squadron is the oldest in the Royal Navy and HMS Severn is the latest in a long line of vessels which adds to this illustrious history, in a very modern hull.

“My crew and I are pleased to be able to be in port to share our experiences.”

Flag Officer Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland, Rear Admiral Chris Hockley, will also visit during the weekend for a lunch on board HMS Kent on Saturday.

Powerful and versatile with the capability to operate anywhere in the world, the Type 23 frigate is the mainstay of the modern surface fleet.

Originally designed for the principal task of anti-submarine warfare, they have evolved into multi-purpose ships with the capability to operate anywhere in the world. The effectiveness of these Ships is enhanced by their stealth design, which reduces their radar signature significantly.

In addition to warfare roles, the ship also conducts counter piracy and embargo operations using Royal Navy and Royal Marine boarding teams inserted via the ship’s boats or Merlin helicopter, humanitarian relief and surveillance operations.

The current HMS Kent is the twelfth ship to bear the name and its ship’s company is very proud of her impressive 16 battle honours earned by her distinguished predecessors.

The ship was built by BAE Systems at Scotstoun on the Clyde and was launched in May 1998 by her sponsor, HRH Princess Alexandra.

The 14th of 16 Type 23 ‘Duke’ class frigates, HMS Kent was commissioned on 8 June 2000 and is based in Portsmouth.

HMS Kent has recently completed an extensive £24M refit which included installing Sonar 2087, 4.5 MOD1 medium range gun, 30MM Guns, in order to maintain its cutting edge war fighting capability.

HMS Severn is the second of the Royal Navy’s three River class patrol vessel (OPVs). Built at Woolston in Southampton by Vosper Thorny croft limited and launched on December 4 2002, she was accepted into service in the Royal Navy in 2003.

Alongside HMS Tyne and HMS Mersey she forms the backbone of the Fishery Protection Squadron, the oldest squadron in the Royal Navy.

The Fishery Protection Squadron, co operates with other government agencies to patrol the waters of England, Wales and Northern Ireland enforcing legislation designed to ensure the sustainability of fish stocks for future generations.

HMS Severn can spend in excess of 300 days at sea each year and the majority of this conducting fishery protection duties within British Fisheries Limits (BFLs). This area covers up to 200 miles from the coast of the UK.

In order to inspect fishing vessels, Severn employs two water jet propelled rigid inflatable boats and up to four Royal Naval officers qualified as Marine Enforcement Officers (MEO) to conduct multiple boardings simultaneously and around the clock.

Aside from fishery protection duties, Severn delivers a variety of secondary roles including search and rescue and operations in support of the security, safety and integrity of UK territorial waters.

Naval Today Staff, October 16, 2012; Image: Royal Navy