HMS Mersey, a River Class Patrol vessel, has emerged after many months in Falmouth drydock sporting her new ‘Western Approaches’ colour scheme.

Mersey has undergone a major modernisation refit which included a complete strip down of her engines, interior work to the accommodation and other areas.

The combination of blue-grey and green-grey on a background of white and light grey was first applied to destroyer HMS Broke in 1940 and was subsequently ‘worn’ by ships operating in the namesake approaches – extending about 1,000 miles from the UK into the Atlantic – to make it difficult for German U-boat commanders to spot them, especially in heavy seas.

Originally devised in World War One to confuse enemy submarine commanders, trying to calculate a vessels speed and orientation before attacking, the 'dazzle' paint scheme was phased out in World War Two due to the improvement of radar and optical equipment.

HMS Mersey is the last of the current Patrol ships in the fleet to receive the paint job since World War Two and while radar makes the use of maritime camouflage largely irrelevant, it is a tribute to sailors of the Battle of the Atlantic who operated in the same waters as these ships.

To create the new paint scheme painters used 700 litres of paint on Mersey’s hull.

Matt Weetch, director of defence at commercial ship repair and conversion specialist A&P Group Limited, explained: "First of all, there's a high-pressure washing for the whole vessel.

"The ship is then primed, undercoated, and then painted with a full topcoat of grey.

"With regards to the Western Approaches scheme, the specialist painters do it all by hand, so first they'll do a chalk line to get the pattern correct, then use masking tape to put a detailed line for the paint, then they'll use brushes and rollers to actually paint the vessel the different colours – your normal hand rollers and paint brushes you'd paint your house with."