Royal Navy patrol ship HMS Trent (P224) has taken her place alongside NATO vessels in the alliance’s Mediterranean task force. For the first time this year, Trent – which largely operates in the Med and patrols a vast area from the Gulf of Guinea to the Levant – has joined Maritime Group 2, the second of NATO’s two permanent naval forces. Group 1 focuses on promoting peace and stability in the cooler waters of northern Europe, Group 2 mirrors its activities throughout the Mediterranean region. Group 2, currently patrolling the eastern Med, comprises Italian flagship ITS Margottini, Spanish Blas de Lezo, and Turkish TCG Goksu.
It promotes the alliance, hones seafaring and operational skills so that in a crisis – from conflict to disaster relief – its forces can work together seamlessly to maximum effect. Trent, which has recently been in Souda Bay in Crete, has been conducting propulsion tests to push her engines (and engineers) to the limit (she achieved more than 24kts), gunnery exercises, and maritime security operations, checking on passing shipping. The Task Group is a core part of the NATO Response Force (NRF), which is a technologically advanced, multinational force made up of rapidly deployable land, air, maritime, and Special Operations Forces components. It provides collective defense and rapid military response to emerging crises.
“Trent’s ship’s company are delighted to join NATO’s Standing Maritime Group Two in the Eastern Mediterranean. Maritime forces are a highly-responsive first line of defense, and as a permanently forward-deployed ship, we take pride in our ability to deploy quickly and reach remote locations. Through this standing task, we secure freedom of the seas and demonstrate freedom of navigation over 2,000 miles away from the United Kingdom. Sailing as part of the NATO task group is a clear demonstration of our resilience and strength as an alliance. Since my basic training, Trent is the first ship I have deployed with. I’m excited to put all my training into action working with our team alongside other international navies from NATO – this is why I joined the Royal Navy,” said her Commanding Officer Commander Tom Knott.
HMS Trent is a Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol vessel, named after the River Trent. This is the sixth Royal Navy ship named Trent. She is the third Batch 2 River-class vessel to be commissioned and is forward-deployed long-term to Gibraltar. Steel was cut, marking the start of construction of Trent, on 7 October 2015 at the BAE Systems Govan shipyard in Glasgow. She made her first entry into Portsmouth Harbour on 19 December 2019. She was commissioned on 3 August 2020 and deployed to the Mediterranean for NATO Operation Sea Guardian, before returning to the UK in September. The 2021 defense white paper announced that HMS Trent would be permanently based in Gibraltar for operations in the Mediterranean and the Gulf of Guinea. HMS Trent arrived in Gibraltar in April 2021.