UK: Royal Navy's OPV HMS Mersey tracks Russian ship through the Channel

According to information published by the UK MoD on August 23, 2022, Royal Navy warship HMS Mersey shadowed tanker Akademik Pashin through the Channel – the latest Russian Navy vessel under the ever-watchful eye of the UK’s Armed Forces in its backyard.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Royal Navy's River class HMS Mersey and Russian Project 23130 tanker Academic Pashin (Picture source: UK MoD)

Following HMS Portland’s recent tracking of two Russian submarines in the UK’s area of interest, Portsmouth-based patrol ship HMS Mersey was called upon to monitor the movements of the Pashin from the North Sea, through the Dover Strait, and down the leg of the Channel towards the open waters of the North Atlantic.

The oiler is the first tanker built for the Russian Navy since the end of the Cold War, supplying the ships of the Northern Fleet with the fuel they need to sustain operations. The Pashin has continued her voyage into the Atlantic, while HMS Mersey has resumed her patrols of home waters.

About the Russian vessel

Academic Pashin is a replenishment oiler of Project 23130 and the lead vessel of the class. Developed by the Spetssudoproect JSC, it is the first replenishment oiler commissioned with the Russian Navy since the end of the Cold War. She is assigned to the Northern Fleet.

The Russian ship has a length of 130 m (430 ft), a beam of 21.5 m (71 ft), and a draught of 7 m (23 ft). She can reach a top speed of 16 knots (30 km/h, 18 mph).

The replenishment oiler is designed to carry and store liquid cargoes, including diesel fuel and air kerosene, as well as dry cargo, such as food and materiel.