UK: HMS Mersey Hosts HMS Biter University URNU Students

HMS Mersey Hosts HMS Biter University URNU Students

The Royal Navy River Class Offshore Patrol Vessel (RCOPV) HMS Mersey has been training 8 University Royal Naval Unit (URNU) students from P2000 University Patrol Unit HMS Biter in March and April.

While HMS Biter had to undergo essential maintenance and was unable to provide an Easter “deployment” for her associated URNU students, HMS Mersey and HMS Clyde acted as hosts to groups of students, providing them with valuable navigation training and whole ship experience.

While the students for HMS Clyde flew to the South Atlantic for their training, the students destined for HMS Mersey were split into 2 groups of 4. Each spent a week on board HMS Mersey, witnessing life on board and getting involved in activities that would be unavailable in their P2000 vessel.

When shadowing the Logistics department the students assisted in the Galley making dinner, as well as climbing into the giant-sized Fridges to help with stocktaking.

The Marine Engineering department gave tours of the engineering spaces and gave hands-on experience in the life of a “stoker” – Navy slang for a Marine Engineer, experiencing Machinery Breakdown Drills from the Bridge and in the machinery spaces.

The Weapons Engineering department had the students cleaning weapons, soldering communication equipment and assisting in equipment checks, whilst the Seamanship department gave demonstrations on rope splicing and boat work skills.

On top of this, the students were able to gain experience on the Bridge of a warship, navigating and driving the Ship using both the electronic chart display system now used by the RN and the more familiar paper charts, which are still used on P2000s.

Midshipman Rowlands, the Senior Midshipman of HMS Biter, thanked the Ship on behalf of the group, saying,

“It was a fantastic chance to get involved in the Royal Navy for real and see how an operational ship works. The time spent on the Bridge was most useful as we got to practice being an Officer of the Watch.”

HMS Mersey also gained some valuable knowledge from the students as well!

HMS Mersey regularly hosts personnel under training, whether in the Royal Navy or the Reserves, as the ship is almost constantly at sea and the 3 watch manning system means that spare accommodation is always available on board for trainees and visitors.

The Royal Navy Fishery Protection Squadron ships, HMS Tyne, HMS Severn and HMS Mersey, maintain a constant presence throughout UK waters all year round, with each ship spending over 300 days each at sea every year.

Working with the Marine Management Organisation, the patrol duties of the fishery limits surrounding England and Wales are shared between the three ships, meaning there is usually at least one ship from the Squadron at sea every day of the year.

Press Release, May 21, 2013; Image: Royal Navy