A year ago HMS MEDWAY left Portsmouth for a long term mission to patrol the Caribbean and it will be several more years before the ship will be back in home waters as she continues to patrol Britain's North Atlantic territories.
HMS MEDWAY is at the vanguard of the Royal Navy's Forward Presence programme, stationing warships overseas for several years at a time, using regional ports and British or allied nation's bases for resupply and maintenance and regular crew changes.
She is currently in Mayport, Florida, undergoing winter maintenance before resuming her work providing support, assistance and reassurance for Britain's overseas territories in the region, from flag flying for the UK and participating in key local events, to delivering assistance in the event of a natural disaster. The ship has sailed almost 50,000 miles - the equivalent of twice around the globe since leaving Portsmouth, spending 184 of her 366 days away at sea.
Much of her first year was spent getting to know the many islands and their civilian/emergency services and facilities should she be called upon to provide assistance in the event of a hurricane or volcanic eruption. Similarly, island communities have learned what Medway can offer in an emergency: communications; planning; skilled engineers and equipment; food; fresh water; trained medics and the general 'can-do' attitude of sailors - culminating in two large-scale disaster relief exercises.
Royal Marines practise boarding skills from a Merlin helicopter onto HMS MEDWAY'S flight deck.
HMS Medway is the second of five new River-class offshore patrol vessels and was named in Glasgow in October 2017. The name continues an association between the Royal Navy, the River Medway, the Medway towns and the Chatham Historic Dockyard with its rich naval heritage and is the tenth vessel to bear the name since the 1690s.
The 90 metre ship, with her crew of 58, is equipped with a 33mm cannon and a flight deck capable of accommodating a Merlin helicopter. She is expected to enter service with the Royal Navy in 2019 and will go on to deploy across the globe on vital counter-terrorism and anti-smuggling operations.