MORAY Council will enter into a civil affiliation with the Royal Navy’s latest offshore patrol vessel, it was confirmed today.
Councillors unanimously agreed to accept the invitation from the Naval Regional Commander Scotland and Northern Ireland to form a civil affiliation with HMS Spey.
It comes as the Royal Navy’s presence in Moray is set to rise again, with the imminent arrival of the P8 maritime patrol aircraft, based at RAF Lossiemouth.
The affiliation between Moray Council and HMS Spey will pave the way for a personal link between the Royal Navy and the citizens of Moray.
HMS Spey is currently being built by Bae Systems at their shipyard on the Clyde, and will be the last of the new class of five Offshore Patrol Vessels. She will be formally named in early 2019 and be commissioned later that year.
At 90 metres long and weighing 2,000 tonnes, HMS Spey is expected to carry a 30mm cannon and a flight deck capable of receiving a Merlin helicopter, in support of counter-terrorism, anti-piracy, anti-smuggling and maritime defence operations.
Convener of Moray Council, Cllr James Allan, said he was delighted to confirm the civil affiliation during this morning’s full council meeting.
“Moray has important historical ties with the Royal Navy, and we welcome this invitation to enter into a civil affiliation with HMS Spey. This only strengthens Moray’s position as a major strategic military location in Scotland and the UK, and we look forward to continuing to build on this through our new link with HMS Spey.”
Captain Chris Smith, Naval Regional Commander Scotland and Northern Ireland, said: "The Royal Navy greatly values its relationships with our local communities. The affiliation between HMS Spey and Moray will only serve to strengthen our links in this area and will help us to engage further with its people in years to come. This relationship also builds an understanding of what we do and will allow us to convey the spirit of Moray across the globe.”
Once settled, other affiliations with an RAF squadron and Army regiment, and in Moray’s case a Speyside distillery are expected to take place.
Famous for its colony of dolphins, fabulous beaches and more malt whisky distilleries than any where else in Scotland, Moray is a thriving area and a great place to live. Nestling between Aberdeenshire and the Highlands, Moray stretches from Tomintoul in the south to the shores of the Moray Firth, from Keith in the east to Brodie Castle in the west.