Saturday, 6 December 2008
Seen off the coast of Gourock on the 5 December 08,she seemed to be testing her anchor.She headed back to Faslane after about half an hour.
The three Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) of which Mersey is one,are employed in the Fishery Protection role primarily, with the capacity to operate in other areas. The Fishery Protection Role includes undertaking patrols in English, Welsh and Northern Ireland waters enforcing UK and EU fisheries legislation. Two man teams conduct boardings of fishing vessels inspecting net sizes, weight of catches, fish sizes, composure of catches and the vessel's logbook and licence.
The River Class were built by Vosper Thorneycroft (UK) Ltd (VT) in Southampton under an innovative arrangement. The ships are leased to the Royal Navy under a five-year agreement which includes VT taking responsibility for maintenance and support during the period. This is the first time the Royal Navy has procured ships under such an agreement. At the end of the time, the MoD can either extend the charter, purchase outright or return the ships to VT. The flexibility and efficiency of this VT design enabled the Navy to replace five Island Class Patrol Vessels with the three River Class vessels.
In operational terms, one of the major innovations is a large working cargo deck that allows the ships to be equipped with specific facilities for a particular role, such as disaster relief, anti-pollution, fire fighting, rescue work or interception of other vessels. A heavy crane with capacity for 25 tonnes is therefore fitted to handle standard containers.
This working deck is also large enough to permit the transport of smaller craft such as oil spill recovery tractors, an LCVP (a landing craft for transhipment of cargo inland by river) and a variety of wheeled and tracked light vehicles.
Info courtesy of Royal Navy.