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Two Royal Navy patrol ships have left the United Kingdom for a five-year deployment that will see them act as “the eyes and ears” of Britain from the west coast of Africa, to the west coast of the United States, according to a British Defense Ministry statement. While patrolling the waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans, the warships named HMS Spey and HMS Tamar will move as far north as the Bering Sea and as far south as New Zealand and the Australian state of Tasmania, where they could square up with China on the South China Sea. “Two-thirds of the world is our playground,” said Lt. Cmdr. Ben Evans, commanding officer of HMS Spey, a 2,000-ton, 300-foot-long offshore patrol vessel that will team with HMS Tamar for a mission that is not expected to see them return to their Portsmouth home port until 2026. “They will act as the eyes and ears of the Navy — and nation — in the region, working alongside Britain’s allies, carrying out security patrols to deal with drug-running, smuggling, terrorism and other illegal activities, joining in exercises with other navies and armed forces, and flying the flag for Global Britain,” the Defense Ministry statement said. In March the United Kingdom released a sweeping review of its military and foreign policy, in which it recognized a tilt toward the Indo-Pacific in the coming decade and warned of the challenges coming from China. HMS Spey and HMS Tamar each carry a crew of 46, members of which the Royal Navy says will be swapped out as frequently as every few weeks. The ships will spend up to nine months at a time at sea, the navy said. The ships will not have a permanent base in the Pacific. Along with their normal crews, the ships will host up to 52 Royal Marines or other troops, who can help with specific missions. The post “Two-thirds of the world is our playground” – UK says as it deploys Royal Navy warships to Africa and Asia for the next 5 years appeared first on Linda Ikeji Blog.
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