HMS Mersey (P283)

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Fishery Protection Vessel HMS Mersey MOD 45155100.jpg
HMS Mersey, 2013
United Kingdom
NameHMS Mersey
OperatorRoyal Navy
OrderedApril 2001
BuilderVosper Thornycroft
Launched14 June 2003
Sponsored byMrs Jennie Reeve
Commissioned28 November 2003
HomeportHMNB Portsmouth
StatusIn Active Service
General characteristics
Class and typeRiver-class patrol vessel
Displacement1,700 tonnes (1,700 long tons; 1,900 short tons)[1]
Length79.5 m (260 ft 10 in)
Beam13.5 m (44 ft 3 in)
Draught3.8 m (12 ft 6 in)
Installed power4,125 kW (5,532 hp) at 1,000 rpm
Propulsion2 × Ruston 12RK 270 diesel engines
Speed20 knots (37 km/h)
Range5,500 nmi (10,200 km)
Endurance21 days
Boats & landing
craft carried
Two rigid inflatable boats

HMS Mersey is a River-class offshore patrol vessel of the British Royal Navy. Named after the River Mersey, she is the fifth RN vessel to carry the name and the first to be named Mersey in 84 years. Various tenders were renamed Mersey[2] during their service with Mersey Division Royal Naval Reserve (HMS Eaglet) between the early 1950s and late 1970s.

She was built by Vosper Thornycroft in Southampton to serve as a fishery protection vessel within the United Kingdom's waters along with her two sister ships Tyne and Severn. All three were commissioned into service in 2003 to replace the five older Island-class patrol vessels. She was commissioned into the Royal Navy on 28 November 2003. At that time, Mersey was not expected to commence duties until February 2004.

Mersey was the last Royal Navy ship to be launched from Vosper Thornycroft at its Woolston shipyard; Jennie Reeve, wife of Rear-Admiral Jonathon Reeve, Chief of Fleet Support, was the ship's sponsor.[3]

Operational history

Visiting Guyana in March 2016

For the first thirteen years of operation, Mersey operated around the United Kingdom on Fishery Protection duties.

In October 2013, Mersey was dry docked in Falmouth.

In January 2016, Mersey became the second River-class OPV to be deployed to the Caribbean Sea following on from her sister Severn in 2015. In May 2016, Mersey was dry docked in Martinique as part of her mid-deployment maintenance period. By July, Mersey had been relieved by RFA Wave Knight and was deployed on migrant patrols in the Aegean via a port call in Gibraltar. Mersey returned to Portsmouth on 10 February 2017 after 13 months away to resume her fishery protection duties.[4]

On 3 January 2019, Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson confirmed that HMS Mersey has been deployed to assist UK & French authorities with illegal migrant crossings in the English Channel.[5]


On 24 April 2017, in a written answer to a question raised by Sir Nicholas Soames, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Defence Harriet Baldwin stated that Mersey would be decommissioned in 2019.[6]

In March 2018, Baldwin's successor Guto Bebb revealed that £12.7M had been allocated from the EU Exit Preparedness Fund to preserve the three Batch 1 ships, should they be needed to control and enforce UK waters and fisheries following the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union.[7]

On 22 November 2018, Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, announced that three Batch 1 River-class ships would be retained in service and forward operated from their affiliated ports.[8]



  1. "Offshore Patrol Vessels". BAE Systems. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  2. Colledge & Warlow 2006, p. 224.
  3. "HMS Mersey to be final RN ship launched from Woolston". VT plc.[permanent dead link]
  4. "Crowds gather to greet the return of HMS Mersey". ITV News. 10 February 2017. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  5. Ministry of Defence [@DefenceHQ] (3 January 2019). "Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has confirmed that @hms_mersey will deploy to the Dover Straits to assist the UK Border Force with migrant border crossings" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  6. Harriett Baldwin, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Defence (24 April 2017). "Warships and Submarines: Decommissioning: Written question – 71203". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons.
  7. Guto Bebb, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Defence (16 March 2018). "Ministry of Defence: Public Expenditure: Written question - 132371". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons.
  8. "MoD lifts axe on three Royal Navy patrol ships to boost UK fishery protection". Southern Daily Echo. 22 November 2018. Retrieved 27 November 2018.

External links