No warships guarding British shores
Cutbacks have left the UK without a single warship specifically
tasked with protecting the country's shores for the past month, the
Ministry of Defence confirmed today.
The Royal Navy normally provides a minimum coverage of a frigate or destroyer fulfilling the role of Fleet Ready Escort (FRE).
This task is for the ship to be at high readiness for an emergency, including a terrorist attack, in UK waters or abroad.
However pressures on the navy caused by cuts to its fleet in last year's strategic defence and strategy review (SDSR) as well as its commitments to the Nato mission to Libya, has left it unable to fill the role.
In the SDSR, the Government cut the number of frigates or destroyers in the navy's surface fleet from 24 to 19.
The last ship to undertake the FRE role was the Type 23 frigate HMS Portland which left the position on October 3 to take part in the Joint Warrior Nato exercise off Scotland.
A Royal Navy spokesman said: "Due to the successful deployment of Royal Navy units to the Libya campaign, it has been necessary to reprofile the commitments of some ships.
"Should a FRE activation be required, a Royal Navy ship would be allocated."
The spokesman explained that although there had not been a ship specifically tasked as an FRE, one of the vessels taking part in the Joint Warrior exercise could have been allocated within 24 hours' notice.
He added that the FRE would not necessarily be on patrol during its tasking but could be alongside in port at high readiness to sail.
The spokesman said that as well as the FRE, the navy normally has a frigate escorting the continuous at sea deterrent (nuclear submarine) as well as fishery protection vessels.
He added the next FRE would be formally notified on November 7 but if one was required prior to that they would be nominated immediately.
Former First Sea Lord, Admiral Lord Alan West told the Portsmouth News: "If there was a terrorism incident in UK waters, this would historically be the ship sent in to deal with it.
"It's a big problem. If we haven't got a ship ready to do this role then it's worrying. It's a very unsatisfactory position to be in."
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...