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SO what does a two-week patrol with Fishery Protection Squadron involve? Well, we’re glad you ask because navigator of HMS Severn – one of Service’s three fishery protection ve just provided us with this insight into ‘cod squad’.


Wales, her affiliated town. A formal visit to the city, tied in with an Operational Stand-off Period (OSP) between patrols, gave the perfect opportunity to strengthen ties with the ship’s affiliations and the region.

Vessels) in Faslane and a patrol of the Irish Sea, Celtic Sea and ‘Trouser Leg’ detaining one Spanish fishing vessel to Falmouth, it was perfect timing for the ship’s company to sail up the river with which she shares her name into Newport.

The ship hosted an official reception; guests included the Mayor and Mayoress of Newport, local dignitaries and the organisers of the Ryder Cup tournament, being held at Celtic Manor in Newport later in the year. We were also lucky enough to be in the

EVERN’S 14-day patrol started in the city of Newport, South

Officer of the Watch. “We’re given a

After a demanding OST at FOST (Minor War

pictures: la(phot) jay allen, frpu east

presence of Royal Naval veterans from the local British Legion ‘spinning dits’ from their time in the Service. The ship’s ‘elite’ soccer stars had the chance to play their part in a challenging match against a local side, Hartridge Academy (some of whom play for the Welsh U18 national team...). With the scores tied at 1-1 at half time, the decision was made to mix the teams for the second half (much to the shock and disappointment of travelling supporters, as now it will never be known what the final outcome could have been).

On the final evening, members of the ship’s company swapped hosting for being hosted, by the Mayor of Newport, at Tredegar House. The grand halls and surrounding gardens as well as the fine hospitality made it a special evening and a memorable way to end the visit.

AS SEVERN sailed from Newport, a few

extra guests had made their way onboard for a first experience of life at sea. Seven cadets from TS Resolute in Newport spent the day shooting, fire-fighting and practising ‘big arms’ during a man overboard drill. Also aboard was video journalist Paddy Collins, filming for the second series of Sea Patrol UK.

responsibility on particularly during boa as the Officer of the W is liaising with the boar teams and we essent run the bridge,” he say “The ship is t perfect platform for m navigation training and provides excellen preparation fo examinations at the end of SFT. “I’m thoroughly enjoying my time onboard, especially the ‘small-ship mentality’ where everyone digs out for each other.”

Once the fishing vessel has been hailed, the Executive Officer – Severn’s watch system means the Commanding Officer and XO take command of the vessel depending on who’s on board – decides if it is viable for a boarding.

Several factors are considered, namely what the fishing vesse is currently doin and fish species an amounts onboard, well as when it was boarded and the cur weather conditions. Then follows the infa pipe: ‘Hands to fish bo stations,’ and the ship into action.

HMS Severn has already featured in the 2009 series of the documentary, so the ship’s company were unfazed by video cameras appearing where they were least expected, but it gave an edge to the cycle of hailing and boarding.

Every two hours, the Officer of the Watch downloads positions of fishing vessels from a vessel monitoring system and looks for a viable contact – or group of fishing boats. His search is aided by Watchdog 74, a surveillance aircraft contracted by the Marine Management Organisation to monitor and radio hail fishing vessels inside British Fishery Limits.

aircraft is always appreciated as the aircraft can search a greater area faster than Severn and assist the ship in targeting particular vessels or types of vessel. The aircraft operator liaises by radio with the Officer of the Watch and the surface picture is built. Severn and the aircraft will then ‘de-conflict’ which vessels they will each deal with making the operation more efficient and more effective for the Marine Management Organisation. It’s possible to check the history of the fishing vessels, and look for contacts of interest – those with a history of breaking the rules set down by the European Union, or who have not been boarded in some years. Once a target group is selected, the ship closes to just 1,000 yards from the fishing vessel – to identify its registration numbers and then hail the vessel on VHF. One thousand yards may not look close to the untrained eye, but with a large group of fishing vessels (any one of which may alter course at any time, in any direction) it can be a tense time on the bridge, even before considering that the fishing vessels may be in the wrong lane of the Dover Straits – the M6 of British waters.

This type of ship driving comes with practice – and there is plenty of practice to be had! The ship is often at boarding stations at all hours of the day.

S/Lt Andy Martin, one of four young officers

onboard completing his Specialist Fleet Training (SFT), stands watches as the second

Co-operation between the ship and the

For the boarding t time for dry suits, equipment that has be at the start of their final checks and a brief about to be boarded together with the relev With a small ship’s c 30 onboard at any time in some way in getting The team are quick

14 days

route to the fishing ves Pacific 22 seaboats. Driving the ‘taxi’ is a “As a seaboat cox’n when embarking the never know what to you are abeam of a b that you know what yo Not to mention the a elements around the AB(Sea) Gary Mosely. Weather is always the ship’s seaboat ca from Severn embarking a tw on a 16-metre speed with fish has to be ass too dangerous

When Severn’s out o

boarding the fishing ve ship can still provide a d affect by her presenc closed seasonally fo to protect spawning continuing to radio hai which fish they are targ and ensure it is going

FISHING regulation is numerous complex

boardings are ever qui It’s tempting to l together, but there methods, equipment – HMS Severn’s last teams on board British Belgian and German v Each nation has a slig in the way that they f for, using many differ capacity of net. There are different

fish are sorted and s countless different lang officer to grasp! During her patrol, S

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