Britain sends patrol vessel to aid NATO’s Aegean Sea mission

Britain has announced that it would send an offshore patrol vessel to the Aegean Sea where NATO vessels are already engaged in gathering intelligence and patrol the waters between Greece and Turkey with the aim of preventing migration and smuggling. 

During the NATO summit in Warsaw Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the HMS Mersey would be deployed to the Aegean where the ship would meet with another British vessel, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Cardigan Bay.

HMS Mersey, an Offshore Patrol Vessel, will provide the taskforce with enhanced ability to work closer to the shore line and greater agility.

NATO ships are working closely with Greek and Turkish coastguards, alerting them to sightings of migrant vessels crossing the Aegean and enabling them to turn them back or prevent them attempting the dangerous crossing in the first place.

HMS Mersey will deploy to the Aegean from the Caribbean where she has been on counter narcotic operations. In April she played a key role alongside the Canadian Navy and US coastguard in a £12 million drugs bust where 304kg of drugs were seized.