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Overall the Government should invest into a larger naval force as a whole as with us leaving the European Union their is bound that some European ships will be disregarding our national waters or threats, hopefully with this asset the Government can push for more dock yards round the country.

Basil Barnes

It will mainly be European fishing boats causing the problem but that will fall on fisheries protection vessels rather than RN. What annoyed me was the number of UK border force patrol boats purchased from Europe over the last decade. We could easily have kept a ship yard open for a decade has those contracts gone to a UK yard.

Julian Edmonds

Also EU citizens with criminal records who will no longer have permission to travel to the UK. Some of these have expensive, fast, well-equipped yachts. Which is also a border force issue but will stretch them a lot further than the flimsy refugee inflatables we get nowadays.

Steve Taylor

Even though the had permission to come here a lot of “stuff” was still brought a shore from yachts in the night. One of the reasons why the Irish customs service set up their maritime unit was because of an upsurge in landings of drugs mostly from the Netherlands. Compared to every other European nation our maritime security is very poor. Though most operations are intelligence lead there is little substitute for local assets building local intelligence pictures. Nothing will change because it would cost money to bring into being. We could do with the maritime equivalent of the National Police Air Service. Border Agency is under equipped. And the RN has had the necessary assets of decades.

Steve Taylor

The down voting on this site is stupid because it isn’t qualified. Nothing I have said that post is in correct.

It’s why this site is held in such low regard.


Cry me a f**ing river. This is why you are held in such low regard.

Gavin Gordon

What you state is basically correct, Steve. I worked in HMCE/HMRC for most of my career post RN, including the maritime control of cutters and aircraft for a few years. Certainly after Sentinel we went Dutch. There are more assets now but mostly smaller vessels, not in itself a bad thing, of course, but they are absorbed dealing with migrants to a greater extent now. We’re never going to really get on top of smuggling, including drugs, until folk stop thinking it’s acceptable to indulge or that most drugs are pretty harmless (seeing the mental illness/paranoia caused by cannabis alone was salutory). My principal hope nowadays is that some politicians and some ‘experts’ don’t get to influence legalisation.
That said, there were some impressive international, intel-led maritime operations carried out within the confines of our resources and I expect there still are.
Also, don’t see the point of a downvote without comment by the way. The STRN blogsite is excellent in itself, though.


Which ones might these be? The Damen 42m cutters supplied in the early noughties? That those nice Dutch lads would have knocked out in under a year each.

Or the RIB-based patrol boats that were bought off BP and others in the last 5 years and were built in the UK (Holyhead Marine or Delta RIBS).

Struggling to see how that lot would keep a shipyard open for a decade.


The Royal Navy does have fisheries protection vessels and does do that job 24 7


We have lots of docks in the uk, A&P have 4 such yards alone around the country with 5he largest dry dick on east coast. It’s work they need and plenty of it. But they won’t get it, and we will work just as closely with our european Naval partners in future so brexit won’t affect much, in fact we will sail all the time with EU ships in our battle group. And like I said above we have lots of dry docks and yards in the UKjuat not work and investment.


Hebburn dock isn’t what you want for this. Not least because it has no nuclear certification whatsoever, no nuclear licensing or similar – and crucially, very few staff and none with nuclear expertise.

A&P would go under in a heartbeat if they ever tried to set up their operation for nuclear regulations. Like it or lump it, Babcocks have the expertise and the facilities to do this with relatively little effort.

Your support of A&P is admirable. You would do well to understand what they actually do and what their facilities are actually capable of.

Having worked in that Hebburn dock some years ago, I’ve got a pretty good idea myself….


Is there an dutch Holland-class OPV at the photo from 2019?


Yes, there is.

Stray Vector

My understanding is that one of the issues with potential Scottish independence is the impact it would have on supporting the SSBNs and SSNs. If that is correct, could these facilities be seen as a replacement or at least a form of insurance in the event of Scotland leaving UK?


Not really. Already most of the general submarine infrastructure has been removed to the Clyde. The main problem would be the missile and warhead storage and arming/disarming. Absolutely no possibility of that being done in the Devonport area. Short of building a new base elsewhere in the country the government has no idea of any contingency.


We could base our nuclear armed submarines on the east coast of USA with their subs, Georgia I think they are, I’m sure we could call it a NATO deterant bass or something so wouldn’t need to pay the Yanks, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind the well trained brits alongside them, after all we did allow them a home on the Clyde for their nuke subs not long ago, all be it from a huge mother ship on the Loch.

Rob Barker

Given that the Trident upgrade to Faslane, Coulport and Glen Douglas was the largest public funded building project in the 80’s & 90’s there probably not too much appetite for repeating it at say Pembroke Dock or similar……. Falmouth perhaps.


I know what you mean but being pedantic but as this a Country with four states that make it up our Country and Scotland being the second biggest in population (tiny compared to England I know) and area, it is more like breaking up the UK.


Not pedantic – the United Kingdom is the union of England and Scotland. Population size or land area have nothing to do with it.


Not of course to say that Wales and Northern Ireland aren’t part of the Uk too, but they weren’t kingdoms at the time of the Union.


Ireland was a client Kingdom of Britain till 1800 – when the Kingdom of Britain and Ireland was formed. Of course similar had happened with Scotland being a client Kingdom until 1706 created Great Britain.


@Stray Vector
Faslane will shortly become the only operational base for RN submarines. When HMS Triumph moves home port to Faslane, Devonport will cease to be a submarine operating base and focus entirely on their maintenance, refits and dismantling.

Relocating Trident to anywhere in the England or Wales, including Devonport would be extremely problematic. Even if a suitable site could be found, it would cost £billions to recreate the dedicated support infrastructure there is in Scotland which has seen huge investment since the 1960s. See:


Lets hypothesise for a moment. In the event of the SNP negotiating successfully for a referendum in Scotland, and winning the same, this issue will be addressed. Their stated desire to close Faslane will have a reality check. They will be told by the countries in Europe they hope to friends with, by NATO, the EU, the Americans, Canada etc to wind their necks in, and arrive at some kind of sovereign territory deal for the Faslane facility, and the various Scotland-based RAF bases. They will be told that it is not acceptable to have another neutral country alongside the Irish Republic at one end of the GIUK gap. They will save face by saying it was a concession made necessary by the need to continue having sterling as their currency, to have some kind of decent credit rating with institutions like the World Bank, IMF etc, and to be looked on favourably for membership of the EU, and NATO.
It would be a tortuous and messy negotiation. The Russians would see it as an entertainment for their pleasure, in much the same way as US Presidential elections are now.


Scotland only has one RAF base these days


Falmouth would be a good a place as any.


One little error is that 10 Dock has been used for nuclear work before.T and S class RAMP’s and DAMP’s had the dock or ‘North lock’ busy right up too Hms Ocean’s first refit in 2007. A small cradle existed in the north western corner to facilitate the dock down. A new concrete cassion was also built alongside 9 docks modular cassion to add some seismic protection.I remember how tiny the Boats looked in the massive dry dock!


In the last picture in the slides, you can see the work happening at the moment to move the centre cassion between 11/12 docks north, to make another 8 dock sized dock and smaller cassion maintenance /LCU ( Landing craft) dock.


They have been working on that for at least 6 years not a lot of progress to be honest.

Gavin Gordon

The consequences of the 2010 ‘security review’ are still ramping up. Warships IFR has reported that we’re almost certainly down to just two CASD units with Victorious having joined Vanguard out of the water. Likely only the UK taxpaper not made aware since sundry other interested parties wont be in any doubt, in my view. The knock on effect means there is nowhere to get the Astutes out of the water either.
And so our multiple Reviews will continue their inexorable downward progress, it would appear. In the meantime the Chinese and Russian politburos accelerate their aggression towards our western democracies, gor which they have nothing but contempt. Does not just impinge on defence either, but every aspect of our security and economic relationship with these two autocracies.
We need to get very serious, very soon. Particularly once Covid-19 has added it’s unique scarring to our way of life. China has no friends, any country she shakes hands with gets its fingers bent backwards – they’ll discard Russia also just as soon as her usefulness expires. Time for the West to reverse relying on these oligarchs for so much of our economy; at least until a time when their two populations boot them out.


Well said


At the moment i have nothing but contempt for our so called Western democracies we are led by globalist idiots who i believe actually despise the native populations.


There’s something poetic about the symetry of a dock being build for HMS Dreadnaught, and being rebuilt for a new HMS Dreadnaught. Can we arrange for HMS Dreadnaught to ram an enemy sub and sink it too?


All that for 4 submarines! Crazy. We should have 5 minimum like we originally planned. Would be great if we could get foreign submarine overhaul work, and it still boggles me why we haven’t got a large submarine dismantling site in the UK yet, we should preserve a couple of our old ones and dismantle the rest and maybe even foreign subs and become specialists in that area.

It sickens me to think how small the Royal Navy is these days, slightly embarrassed actually, and when I hear people say or sing “Britain rules the waves” I cringe!. South Korea and Japan both have far bigger navys, we need 5 follow on type 31s to bring frigates to anywhere near the number they were before the recession, even another batch of Astutes say 3 more would be great but too expensive, so how about half a dozen cheaper diesel electric.? Sadly only the type 31 has the price range to get larger numbers and that only because they are under armed sadly.


Submarines are just about the most sensitive platforms on earth. People tend to be very careful about who sees what in terms of structure and machinery/systems. Dismantling other peoples boats is pretty much a non-starter.

Two boats from the seven at Rosyth have been partially dismantled as part of the pilot project. The delay is down to not having an approved repository and method of removal / transport for intermediate-level nuclear waste, which will be proven in the next phase shortly. The Green lobby hates everything about nuclear boats and their constant dripping makes it even harder to get anything done.


Get a molten salt reactor built and just chuck the cut up bits of the old boats in to the fire!

Glass Half Full

Maybe we’d have a larger navy like Korea and Japan too, if Russia and China were only 2-300 miles from our shores, we also had a neighbour like North Korea, and we weren’t members of NATO. Technically Japan is only separated by about 30 miles from Russian territory. Combine that with the US being the only realistic backup for Korea and Japan, versus all the rest of European NATO members for the UK, even if the US didn’t come to play. Then on top of all that its probably worth taking a hard look at at the Russian surface fleet, most of which is very old and not in great shape.

Many would like to see a stronger RN but we should look at that in context and be realistic.


11 and 12 dock are supposedly being converted to take the type 45s but god knows if that will ever come to fruition.

Michael Leek

With the move of all RN submarines to Faslane, would it not have made more sense, both economically and logistically, to have all refit facilities located in Scotland rather than Devonport?