Royal Navy’s offshore patrol vessel HMS Spey, one of the Royal Navy’s most modern ships, visited Solomon Islands over the weekend (15 and 16 April 2023).
Spey initially transited the country’s territorial waters on 4 and 5 April 2022 as part of its first tour of the South Pacific.
Since December 2021, HMS Spey has travelled from the UK via Hawaii, conducting a number of engagements along the way. In January that year, the ship delivered water and medical supplies as part of the international response to the Hunga-Tonga volcanic eruption and in February deployed a medical team to deliver COVID booster vaccinations and dental treatments to the people of Pitcairn Island.
Alongside her sister-ship HMS Tamar, HMS Spey is deployed for 5 years as part of the Royal Navy and UK’s commitment to the Pacific region.
Her visit is a demonstration of the strengthening of the UK’s relationship with the Solomon Islands and, as the UK Foreign Secretary will discuss in his forthcoming visit, is a key part of the UK’s objective to work and deepen partnerships with Pacific island nations to understand and help them to meet the region’s priorities.
British High Commissioner to Solomon Islands and Nauru, His Excellency Thomas Coward said:
I am delighted to welcome HMS Spey to the Solomon Islands. During her time here I hope that HMS Spey is of huge value to Solomon Islands supporting maritime surveillance and fisheries protection. I most of all hope this visit will mark the establishment of a close relationship between HMS Spey and Solomon Islands and further strengthen the bonds of friendship between our two countries.
One of the greenest ships in the fleet, Spey has also worked with regional partners to carry out environmental and hydrographic surveys as well as water sampling to aid studies on climate change. Her recent work in support of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) has seen the ship contribute to the fight against illegal, unregulated and unreported fisheries activity.
HMS Spey’s Commanding Officer, Commander Mike Proudman, said:
It’s a huge privilege to bring HMS Spey to the Solomon Islands. As part of our mission in the Pacific, we are building understanding of some of the challenges facing the area. It’s an important task that will help to safeguard their natural resource as well as contribute to maritime security.
HMS Spey is on a 5-year mission to the region alongside her sister HMS Tamar. The mission has seen the ship visit Hawaii, Tahiti, Pitcairn, the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.