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the Royal Navy’s

Lt Olly Nokes, f the Senior ssels – has life in the

Watch ding ially s.

my g, t

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lot of watch, rdings

el g


nd as ast rent

mous arding springs

eam, it’s collecting en checked duty period, on the vessel from the XO, ant legislation. ompany – around – most are involved the team away. ly dispatched and en sel by one of the ship’s

, it’s an exciting feeling boarding team as you expect – it’s not until boat’s boarding ladder u’ve come up against. dded challenge of the British coast!” says


a factor and while n be safely launched in higher sea-states, wo-man boarding team fishing vessel at slow hing warps in the water, essed and may prove

f limits for essels, the deterrence e in areas or fishing

major job.

the Marine Management Organisation to look for a contact of interest, a fishing vessel known for previous infringements operating in the area close to Land’s End. The ship makes good speed towards

port around the United Kingdom. It also gives the ship’s company the welcome opportunity to get a phone signal and call their families and friends at home; not possible when patrolling hundred of miles from land at the extremities of British Fishery Limits.

the area, and comes across a fishing vessel in the last known position.

20 boardings

stocks, and also by the vessels to monitor geting, the size of hauls n their logbooks.

s a European affair with xities and so no two te the same.

ump fishing vessels are different fishing and nationalities. patrol took boarding Spanish, Irish, French, essels. ghtly different approach sh and what they fish ent shapes, sizes and

ways in which the

tored, not to mention guages for the boarding

Severn was tasked by

Not wanting to appear suspicious, Severn navigates the Land’s End Traffic Separation Scheme as if on transit through the night, awaiting first light in order to make her move.

vessel, visually identify it as the contact of interest and send a boarding team onboard. It’s not special ops off the Horn of Africa, or boardings in the Gulf, but it’s the Fishery Protection Squadron’s own way of surprising fishermen potentially breaking EU fishery legislation. The role of the boarding officer and his assistant is to provide an independent and accurate assessment of the quantity and type of fish caught to ensure that only the mature species are caught and that the juveniles escape to be caught by fishermen of future generations.

At first light we close the fishing

and weighing fish at sea, but it’s good to know that in my role as marine enforcement officer I can make a difference.”

10 verbal rebriefs

Conditions aboard each fishing vessel vary, with most vessels clean and organised, but sometimes vessels are in poor state, and in this way the boarding officer and his team can expect the unexpected. Some ‘fish rooms’ (where the fish are stored in boxes

Protection Squadron, enabling us to investigate fishing contacts that think they may have ‘got away’ by moving into Irish waters. We have jurisdiction to board British fishing vessels operating in Irish waters, but not Irish vessels.

They also check licenses, paperwork, nets and fishing gear. It’s something out of the ordinary for the Royal Navy as a whole – as Lt Rob Couzens, Severn’s Lead Fisheries Officer points out: “I never thought that when I joined the Royal Navy I would be counting

of ice) are large and organised, while others will be cramped and untidy, making the job of the boarding team more dangerous, particularly in heavy seas. On top of this there are the fishermen themselves; most are co-operative with the boarding team during inspections, others will appear unwelcoming. As the patrol moves on, the Marine Management Organisation seeks permission for Severn to enter the waters south of the Republic of Ireland to look for British vessels operating in this area, in conjunction with the Royal Navy and Irish Navy. This international co-operation between

boardings, with the sailors enjoying ‘whole ship’ activities. A particular ‘favourite’ is quarterdeck circuits organised by the ‘small ship PTI’ AB(Sea) Fielding and supported by AB(Sea) Mosely.

LIFE onboard, however, is not all about 1 offi cial written warning

on the big screen in the junior rates’ dining hall. The gym onboard is well equipped for the size of ship, and is frequently used by all onboard. At the half-way point of the patrol, we enter the breakwater at Plymouth to conduct a crew changeover, and embark the Commanding Officer, Lt Cdr Catherine Jordan, who has enjoyed a week of watch leave. Severn operates a three-watch manning

Monday Night Quiz Night (the clue’s in the title) is popular, as well as the opportunity to watch football matches

navies is quite common in the Fishery

system: essentially four weeks on, two weeks off. Crew changes usually take place whilst alongside, but it is not uncommon to change personnel by boat transfer mid-way through the patrol in any

This particular boat transfer in Plymouth gave Severn the opportunity to see one of the Royal Navy’s newest warships up close, with HMS Daring entering the breakwater shortly afterwards whilst conducting BOST. The embarked journalist used the opportunity to get some footage of the Type 45 in action.

from the Executive Officer and he had disembarked, the ship was back on patrol and heading towards the nearest contact at speed.

Once the CO had received her handover 1,100 photographs

A busy two weeks at sea is concluded when the ship comes alongside in the base port, Portsmouth – something that does not happen very often. ‘Out all gash’ and ‘store ship’ are essential whole-ship activities which need completing prior to leave being piped, while the stokers get to work refuelling Severn ready for her next patrol in 48 hours’ time. ■ YOU can see HMS Severn at work when Sea Patrol UK airs on Channel 5 this autumn. The programme follows

Britain’s coastal services in their day to day jobs reporting on the valuable work done by organisations such as the RNLI and the Coastguard as well as covering HMS Severn’s fishery protection duties and Royal Navy bomb disposal teams.

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