Portsmouth’s HMS Tyne escorts Russian warship through Channel

Portsmouth patrol ship HMS Tyne has been called on twice in a month to escort Russian warship through the English Channel.

The warship monitored the progress of military transporters Minsk and Alexander Shabalin for more than 500 miles each as the vessel passed the British Isles.

The Russian vessels are both Ropucha-class landing ships, used to move military equipment from Russia’s northern ports to its bases in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.

Minsk was on her way back to northern European waters and Tyne was on a fishery protection patrol of the North Sea when she was alerted to the Russian vessel approaching the UK.

She sailed at top speed for nearly 500 miles to the gateway to the Channel where her bridge team used sophisticated navigation software and radars to successfully locate the Russian transporter before following the Minsk’s progress through one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and back into the North Sea.

In August, Tyne accompanied the Minsk’s sister ship Alexander Shabalin as it headed in the opposite direction, bound for the Mediterranean.

The Ropucha class can carry ten tanks and nearly 350 troops — or a cargo of up to 500 tonnes — steaming along at a top speed of 17½ knots. They are armed with two twin 57mm guns.

Lieutenant Craig Clark, Tyne’s Executive Officer (Second-in-Command), said: “I am incredibly proud of the way our ship’s company reacted to this rapid activation – and with the professionalism they showed in this escort duty.

“Contributing to the UK’s maritime security is something the Royal Navy does day in, day out around the world.

“HMS Tyne is an incredibly versatile ship, one which is ideally suited to operating around the UK and in European waters to support our security.”

Tyne is one of four River-class patrol ships. Three — Tyne, Severn, and Mersey — conduct fishery protection and other duties around the UK, while HMS Clyde is permanently deployed to the Falkland Islands.