After the arrival of the HMS St Albans in West India Dock yesterday, she has been quickly joined by three patrol boats, the HMS Exploit, HMS Explorer and HMS Smiter today.
The three boats are Archer-class patrol and training vessels of the British Royal Navy and are used to train students in a range of naval skills.
HMS Explorer (P164) was built by Vosper Thornycroft in 1986 and was reclassified in 1994. Its homeport is Kingston-upon-Hull and mainly operates on the East coast of the UK, particularly in and around the river Humber.
The ship is primarily assigned to the Yorkshire Universities Royal Naval Unit (URNU), serving the universities of York, Hull, Sheffield and Leeds.
HMS Smiter ( P272) was built by Watercraft Ltd in Shoreham and commissioned in 1986. Her primary mission is to support the Oxford URNU’s activities but the vessel also conducts other RN tasks.
Oxford University Royal Naval Unit (URNU) was formed in October 1994 to provide training to undergraduates from Oxford, Oxford Brookes and Reading Universities.
HMS Exploit (P167) was built by Vosper Thornycroft and commissioned in 1988, the ship is berthed in Penarth, near Cardiff.
HMS Exploit is the Birmingham University Royal Naval Unit’s Training Patrol vessel, although the unit covers a wide area, taking undergraduates from eight Universities in the region including Loughborough and Warwick.
Archer-class patrol vessels have a Length of 20.8 m and beam of 5.8 m and often carry a crew of 20 (training) and 12 (operational).
It is not known how long the patrol boats will be in the dock but the St Albans is on a four-day stay.