HMS Forth, one of the Royal Navy’s latest ships, has arrived for the start of a routine maintenance period at the shipyard.

A&P Defence Division has secured a four-ship contract to repair HM ships Tyne, Forth, Medway and Mersey.

The work involved in the reactivation refit of HMS Severn earlier this year as part of an on-going support contract with BAE Systems played a major role in A&P Defence Division winning the contract.

The River Class patrol vessels are no strangers to Falmouth with the A&P workforce experienced in working on the ships over many years.

The work on the four ships will span a period of four months, coming at a time when commercial ship repair appears to be in the doldrums in the UK.

Following intensive Operational Sea Training off the south coast and a high profile visit to Gibraltar HMS Forth is the first of the Royal Navy’s five Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) to enter service with the fleet.

The first ship of any new class is always test bed to iron out problems for future ships.

The 2,000-tonne ship began operations this spring after an intensive period of training off western Scotland. She’s conducted her inaugural fishery protection patrol inspecting fishing vessel and shadowed the Russian warship Vasily Bykov through the Channel as part of her role safeguarding home waters.

Forth is due to head to the Falklands later this year to replace HMS Clyde as the islands’ permanent guard ship. The overriding aim of the Falkland Islands Patrol Vessel is to protect British interests in the Falkland Islands and other South Atlantic Overseas Territories.

This means that there is a need to safeguard not only the islands and their residents, but also Britain’s access to local natural resources, such as gas and oil.

Built by BAE Systems Forth and Medway are two of the Royal Navy’s latest Offshore Patrol vessels.

The five new ships have been named HMS Forth, HMS Medway, HMS Trent, HMS Tamar and HMS Spey. They will all be in service by 2021.

Designed for a crew of 60, they displace around 2,000 tonnes, have a maximum speed of around 24 knots, and can go 5,500 nautical miles without having to resupply.

AS Brexit looms over the horizon, immigrants crossing the Channel, coupled with a grey area in the Fisheries Policy these OPVs will see plenty of service in the coming years.

With RFA Mounts Bay on deployment in the Caribbean, Cardigan Bay in the Gulf and Argus and Lyme Bay on operational duties the Cluster team based at the yard has been busy.

Cardigan Bay underwent a refit at the ASRY shipyard in Bahrain under the direction of the Cluster team who are also working behind the scenes planning future refits and supporting the ships out on deployment.