The Royal Navy’s newest ship has been commissioned into active service at a ceremony in the Highlands.
HMS Spey is the fifth and final ship of the new generation of River Class offshore patrol vessels being built under the current naval contract.
The 90-metre long ship can accommodate a Royal Navy Merlin helicopter on its flight deck and has room on board for up to 50 embarked Royal Marines.
HMS Spey was built at BAE Systems in Glasgow and left Clyde shipyard last October for sea training.
On Friday, the ship and its 45-strong crew were commissioned into the fleet in a ceremony at its affiliated town of Invergordon.
Later in the year HMS Spey will carry out security operations in the far east.
The ship’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Ben Evans, told guests at the ceremony: “For many here today this is the first time they would have seen the newest ship in the Royal Navy, and we are ensuring that the day is celebrated as safely as possible.
“I am proud to be here today with my amazing ship’s company. They have achieved so much and worked so hard to get us to this important milestone.”
RAF submarine-hunting Poseidon aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth carried out a flypast and the Band of the Royal Marines Scotland played to mark the occasion.
Scotland Office minister Iain Stewart said: “Introducing the Clyde-built patrol vessel HMS Spey into active service once again shows that not only does defence play a crucial role in the security of the United Kingdom but it also contributes to Scotland’s prosperity through employment and investment.
“HMS Spey will always have a close bond with her affiliated town of Invergordon, but her foreseeable future is in the Indo-Asian-Pacific region where she will be deployed as part of the Royal Navy’s role in global Britain.”
Defence minister Jeremy Quin said: “Today marks a significant milestone for the Royal Navy’s second generation of River Class vessels, as HMS Spey prepares to join her four sister ships to provide essential maritime security for the UK.”
Her sister ships include HMS Forth, which is patrolling the Falkland Islands, and HMS Medway, which is in the Caribbean, HMS Trent which in Gibraltar and HMS Tamar which will join HMS Spey in the Indo-Asian-Pacific later this year.