HMS Richmond arrives in the Baltic as UK commits Royal Navy task group to patrol region
Her arrival comes as six additional UK navy ships will join a task force to patrol an area from the English Channel to the Baltic Sea in an agreement between Joint Expeditionary Force nations to ensure stability and deter threats to critical undersea cables, pipelines and other assets.
The UK contribution to the deployment will include frigates HMS Richmond and HMS Somerset, offshore patrol vessels HMS Tyne and HMS Severn and mine countermeasures vessels HMS Cattistock, HMS Penzance, as well as a Royal Fleet Auxiliary landing ship RFA Mounts Bay – supported by a Royal Air Force P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.
The group will deploy soon to launch the joint patrols and will work together to carry out deterrent patrol in areas of key interest, as well as to deepen surveillance around offshore assets and share intelligence.
Richmond’s Commanding Officer Commander Chris L’Amie said: “We all rely on critical underwater infrastructure, for our internet, power and fuel supplies. Supporting the resilience of these systems while working together for mutual regional security is essential.
“The ship’s company and I are proud to have the opportunity to strengthen our bonds with fellow JEF nations.
“The JEF framework is a testament to the enduring strength of partnerships and the importance of international military cooperation to promote Euro-Atlantic security.”
On her way to the Baltic, HMS Richmond stopped in the Swedish port city of Gothenburg to top-up on stores and was greeted into the city by Swedish Armed Forces small boats.
While there, the Devonport-based ship took the chance to boost UK relationships with JEF partners by hosting delegates on board to discuss ideas on regional security.
The Joint Expeditionary Force is made up of ten like-minded nations led by the UK – it includes Norway, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Sweden.
Together, they react to events in northern Europe’s waters, ready to respond to crises and world events. To ensure they’re ready for any eventuality, training and exercises regularly take place together.
Next she will work closely with Latvian and Estonian naval vessels as part of a JEF Response Option – the coming together of ships and aircraft across the region to protect critical undersea infrastructure.
This will be the first time the response option has been activated following its creation this year to deter, and defend the region from threats and establish how JEF nations can quickly respond to crises.
It will ensure an extended security presence, picking up from NATO’s enhanced Vigilance Activity which took place in the Baltic Sea region throughout November.
The agreement comes following an extraordinary meeting of JEF defence ministers to discuss options for joint activity to defend offshore critical infrastructure, after an increase in attacks and threats.