HMS Trent, a UK Royal Navy Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV), has been re-deployed to the Caribbean where the warship will hunt drug smugglers.

This deployment replaces HMS Dauntless, which recently seized more than £200m ($251.5m) of cocaine in the region.

Likewise, Trent’s deployment takes over while its sister ship HMS Medway, which usually operate in the Caribbean, was pre-occupied in the South Atlantic patrolling the Falkland Islands while HMS Forth, another sister vessel, underwent extensive maintenance.

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

In August 2023, Trent was deployed to the Gulf of Guinea to deliver training to countries across the region, aiding the fight against maritime crime, including piracy and armed robbery.

While there, she participated in exercise Grand Africa Nemo (GANO) a multinational exercise spanning across and including nations within the Gulf of Guinea and West Africa international countries such as the US and France. The focus of GANO was to test and develop African nation’s responses to maritime security threats such as piracy and drug smuggling.

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Features of the Batch 2 River-class OPVs

There are five Batch 2 River-class vessels: Forth, Medway and Trent, while Tamar and Spey operate across the Indo-Pacific.

The OPV has a length of 90.5 metres and displacement of 2,000 tonnes. It features a flight deck that can accommodate a Merlin medium-lift helicopter. The vessel can accommodate a crew of 45 as well as up to 50 Royal Marines.

The Batch 2 vessels have a bigger main gun than their Batch 1 predecessor with a 30-millimetre (mm) calibre, compared to the 20mm gun carried by the Batch 1 vessels. Each Batch 2 vessel is equipped with an automated small calibre gun, 30mm Bushmaster gun, two Mark 44 miniguns and four 7.62mm GPMGs.

Royal Navy policing against drug smugglers

Alongside other peacekeeping nations such as the US and France, the UK Royal Navy operates around the globe stamping out drug smuggling.

Most recently, the Royal Navy announced it had seized its fourth drug bust of the year in the Arabian Sea three months ago: around £3m worth of drugs by the Type-23 frigate, HMS Lancaster.

An in-depth search of the craft unearthed over 200 packages, containing a total of 260 kilograms (kg) of heroin and 200kg of hashish.