Royal Navy tracks surfaced Russian sub through the channel


The Royal Navy patrol ship HMS Mersey recently tracked the movements of a surfaced Russian attack submarine as it transited past the United Kingdom.

The offshore patrol vessel was tasked to accompany the Kilo-class diesel attack submarine RFS Rostov Na Donu as it made a surfaced passage through the North Sea and the English Channel, headed south from the Baltic to the Mediterranean. Rostov Na Donu is attached to the Russian Black Sea Fleet, and Mersey's crew tracked and reported on her movements so that NATO allies could track her further progress. 

“No patrol is ever the same as the last and we have conducted a particularly varied range of missions recently, culminating with the tracking of this Russian submarine as it passes the UK," said her commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. Will Edwards-Bannon.

Mersey was also on duty when the Kilo-class submarine made the reverse journey in October last year, as she returned from operations in the Mediterranean back to the Baltic.

This winter has been busy for the Royal Navy’s patrol ships, with Mersey, HMS Tyne and HMS Severn all out on security patrols in the seas around the UK. In addition to tracking Russian Navy assets, the Royal Navy patrol ships are involved in a range of missions, particularly fisheries enforcement. The vessels also coordinate with the National Crime Agency and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to share reports of smuggling or other dangerous activities. 

“You never know what’s around the corner when serving in these ships, but you can always rely on Mersey and her fantastic ship’s company, made-up of both regulars and reservists, to get the job done,” said Lt. Cmdr. Edwards-Bannon.

Royal Navy patrol vessels and surface combatants are frequently tasked to escort Russian vessels, as the Russian Navy makes regular use of the English Channel to move assets to and from its Baltic and Syrian bases.