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Royal Navy patrol ship visits Guyana amid border claim

18 January 2024
Royal Navy patrol ship HMS Trent deployed to Guyana as part of the UK’s unequivocal backing to the Commonwealth nation as the Venezuelan regime renewed its border claim on the Essequibo region.

HMS Trent is deployed to the Caribbean to hunt drugs smugglers, but was diverted from Barbados to Guyana to reaffirm support to the South American nation and back its territorial integrity.

Trent anchored off Georgetown and welcomed aboard Guyana’s Chief of Defence Staff, Brigadier Omar Khan, the British High Commissioner to Guyana, Mrs Jane Miller and a number of other dignitaries. 

This was an opportunity for Guyanans to be shown the ship’s main capabilities and the operations it undertakes, while underlining the UK’s work in the region. 

First Lieutenant Robin Poyser led a team from Trent ashore to visit a newly-built hydroponics facility – one example of how Guyana is looking to prosper.

Lt Poyser said: “It was fantastic to spend time ashore in Guyana with our friends and allies. It was an experience I’ll always cherish.”

40 members of the Guyanan Coastguard and Defence Force toured HMS Trent, before training and combined manoeuvres concluded the visit. 

The ship usually operates in the Mediterranean and off Africa’s west coast as part of a long-term security mission, but replaced destroyer HMS Dauntless in the Caribbean in December after negotiating some tough seas during her winter crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. 

For many of the sailors it was their first experience of a long ocean transit and the sense of remoteness when 1,500 nautical miles from the nearest land. 

The reward at the other end was some downtime once in Bridgetown, Barbados – including the ship’s first ever ‘hands to bathe’ (the opportunity to swim in the ocean from the ship) and a Christmas BBQ on the flight deck. 

The respite was short-lived, however, when the ship was tasked to sail to Guyana. 

HMS Trent returned to Bridgetown after this urgent tasking was complete for a crew rotation before heading to Puerto Rico to embark a United States Coast Guard team, who the ship will work closely with to hunt smugglers. 

SLt Alex Kemp said: “Working with our United States Coast Guard colleagues is tremendously exciting and I cannot wait for our drug interdiction operations to begin.”

Trent is now on patrol, meaning the ship has delivered on operations across four continents and visited 14 nations in the last year.

Fellow River-class Batch 2 HMS Medway usually patrols the Caribbean but has been in the South Atlantic – operating around the Falkland Islands – while sister ship HMS Forth underwent maintenance. 

With Forth back in her regular stomping ground, it freed Medway up to get some much-needed maintenance, paving the way for Trent to head to the Caribbean. 

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