Support independent journalism - become a member

In Clyde, Deputy Prime Minister welcomes Royal Navy submarine home after its longest patrol

Publication: The Lochside Press

A Royal Navy submarine, which is thought to have been on patrol for three times as long as usual, returned to the Clyde this week.

Deputy Prime Minister and First Sea Lord Visit Submarine | Photo by The Lochside Press | Licensed for use on Scottish Beacon | All rights reserved

Scores of family members arrived in four buses at Cove Sailing Club to wave and welcome their loved ones home after what is thought to have been ten months away.

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden went aboard the submarine, which carries Trident nuclear missiles, to praise the crew.

The vessel’s hull that sailed into Loch Long was visibly more discoloured than normal.

The nuclear-armed Vanguard-class vessels usually undertake three-month tours of duty, and crew on this vessel are thought to be getting compensation payments of £25,000 each.

A Royal Navy spokesperson would not confirm this but said:

“We do not comment on the length of submarine patrols or remuneration details for individuals; however, all submariners serving on Vanguard-class submarines receive additional payment on completion of an extended patrol to recognise and compensate for the increased burden placed on them and their loved ones.”

Mr Dowden said: 

“I am delighted to be here to welcome home our sailors as they return from patrol.

“The Continuous At Sea Deterrent is enormously important to the United Kingdom, and their service humbles me.

“I do not underestimate the demands on our people and their families in their commitment to delivering this capability.”

The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Ben Key, was also there on Monday and said:

 “It’s a great privilege for me to welcome home the returning ship’s company.

“They have done an exceptional job, and I never fail to be impressed by their dedication and professionalism. I also pay immense tribute to their families and thank them for their support.

“We should never underestimate the huge national effort that goes into this endeavour.

“It is through the commitment of all of those across the defence nuclear enterprise, our industrial partners and government that we are now in our 55th year of unbroken deterrent patrols.”

The UK has four Vanguard-class submarines armed with Trident nuclear missiles, which provide continuous at-sea deterrence (CASD) and are based at Faslane, each with a crew of 132.

A contract to refit HMS Victorious was awarded to Babcock this summer, and that vessel has been in Plymouth since then.

The first of the Vanguard-class submarines was commissioned in 1993, and their replacement, the Dreadnought class, is due in the early 2030s.

A contract to refit HMS Victorious was awarded to Babcock this summer, and that vessel has been in Plymouth since then.