Commissioning of new patrol ship completes £10m investment in Gibraltar Squadron
A ceremony took place in Gibraltar Naval Base to welcome HMS Dagger as she joins sister ship HMS Cutlass on patrol in the waters around The Rock.
It completes a £10m investment in new small, fast and agile patrol boats for the Gibraltar Squadron.
Sailors – their friends and families – gathered to watch the commissioning ceremony, which saw Lieutenant Simon Holden assume command of Dagger.
He said: “My thanks go to our Lady Sponsor, Mrs Kaiane Aldorino Lopez, for her support and patronage to both HMS Dagger and to the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron.
“I must also draw attention to the hard work and effort that was put into the generation of HMS Dagger by the sailors, Royal Marines and soldiers that make up the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron.
“Without their dedication and determination, I would not be in the honoured position I am today, and we would not be welcoming one of the most advanced patrol craft in the world into the Royal Navy.
“For this, I am forever grateful to them and their families.”
Kaiane Aldorino Lopez, former Mayor of Gibraltar and Miss World 2009, was named Lady Sponsor, while prayers and the Naval Hymn were conducted by Chaplain of the Fleet, The Venerable Andrew Hillier.
Commander British Forces in Gibraltar, Commodore Tom Guy and Governor, Sir David Steel, attended the ceremony in the naval base.
Cutlass and Dagger are the permanent replacements for the now decommissioned HMS Sabre and Scimitar which safeguarded Gibraltar’s waters for nearly two decades.
P2000 patrol ships HMS Dasher and Pursuer have acted as the Royal Navy’s presence around Gib, joining the squadron’s Pacific 24 RIBS on patrol, but Cutlass and Dagger now takeover.
Built by Merseyside-based Marine Specialised Technology, the new boats are 19 metres long – slightly longer than Sabre and Scimitar, slightly shorter than Dasher and Pursuer – can hit speeds of 40 knots and are equipped with three machine-guns and the latest electronic/optical equipment to assist in identifying potential threats.
The Gibraltar Squadron provides security in British Territorial Waters, keeping close watch over Gibraltar’s shores, reassuring its 34,000 inhabitants, demonstrating UK sovereignty, exercising with local and visiting forces, and provide protection to visiting warships, submarines and support vessels alongside their civilian counterparts in the Gibraltar Defence Police force. Its boats are on the Rock around the clock – 365 days a year.