Joining an alliance at sea

HMS Mersey recently joined the tip of the spear of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force for exercises keeping allies razor-sharp for maritime security operations

HMS Mersey during NATO exercises.
HMS Mersey during NATO exercises.

The Royal Navy offshore patrol vessel has joined one of NATO’s high readiness maritime task forces, where she will work to provide security in the North Sea and the Atlantic.

The group is known as, Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1), and is made up of vessels from across the allied nations. Together this task force provides NATO with maritime security on operations, both in peacetime and in periods of crisis and conflict.

This is the first time that a ship of the Royal Navy’s Overseas Patrol Squadron has worked with a NATO task group. Her debut involved training with warships from Portugal and Canada in the North Sea.

HMS Mersey during NATO exercises.
HMS Mersey during NATO exercises.

“The Royal Navy has been at the heart of NATO’s maritime training and operations for over 71 years now and so it was a privilege to be able to play our small part in this long-standing partnership by hoisting the NATO flag with pride in HMS Mersey and joining SNMG1 in the North Sea.”

— HMS Mersey’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Will Edwards-Bannon

This maritime group that Mersey has joined is one of two Standing NATO Maritime Group’s, and these form the ‘tip of the spear’ of the maritime element of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force.

The task force runs a high tempo training cycle among all its ships to ensure that the task group remains ready for operations.

The crew onboard HMS Mersey during NATO exercises.
The crew onboard HMS Mersey during NATO exercises.

“I am particularly proud of the way that Mersey’s small ship’s company quickly adapted to the challenge of NATO task group operations; although a first for us in the Overseas Patrol Squadron, it is an important skill-set for everyone in today’s Royal Navy as we increasingly exercise and operate with other nations around the world”

— HMS Mersey’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Will Edwards-Bannon

From protecting the British fishing industry here in UK waters to hunting mines to ensure the safe flow of trade and oil in the Gulf, the Royal Navy is active and fully engaged all over the world day and night.

Find out where else the UK Armed Forces are deployed here:

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Ministry of Defence

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