UK to permanently assign two warships to Asian waters

New offshore patrol vessels will be assigned to Indo-Pacific region, British defence ministry says

Zoe Tidman
Tuesday 20 July 2021 16:40 BST
The HMS Spey is one of the ships to be deployed to the region later this year
The HMS Spey is one of the ships to be deployed to the region later this year (EPA)

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The UK will send two warships into Asian waters to be permanently based there.

The vessels will be assigned to the Indo-Pacific region from later this year, according to the British defence ministry.

This is set to follow plans for a British aircraft carrier and escort ships to carry out exercises in the Philippine Sea alongside forces from other countries in August.

Plans for the high-profile visit by the carrier strike group come as London deepens security ties with Tokyo, which has expressed growing alarm in recent months over China’s territorial ambitions in the region, including Taiwan.

Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, has indicated the royal navy fleet will sail through disputed waters claimed by China during the operation.

After the group’s first ever deployment, the defence ministry said two ships – HMS Spey and HMS Tamar – will be permanently stationed in the Indo-Pacific region.

The offshore patrol vessels will also contribute to a Littoral Response Group in the coming years, according to the department.

They will be deployed at the end of August and will be supported by Australia, Japan and Singapore, among other partners, in their operations.

These ships are two of the navy’s new offshore patrol vessels, with the HMS Spey commissioned into the fleet this week.

“The commissioning of Spey demonstrates a further development to the royal navy’s role in global Britain,” Rear Admiral Simon Asquith OBE said on Monday.

He said the vessel will be deployed to the Indo-Asian Pacific region “for the foreseeable future”.

“Once deployed, they will work closely with allies and partners to support maritime security in the region,” the commander of maritime operations added.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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