A navigation officer is looking forward to seeing the world from aboard the HMS Spey.
Lieutenant Michael Royle joined the Royal Navy eight-and-a-half years ago with aspirations of travelling the open waters in service of his country.
The 33-year-old is now one of the 45 crew members onboard the newly commissioned HMS Spey, which is bound for the Indo-Pacific later this year.
Lt Royle, from Southampton, said: “I’ve had a really, really lucky career. It’s been absolutely amazing.
“I’ve had the opportunity to travel all over the world including the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.
“I have also had the opportunity to train and do things that a civilian wouldn’t be able to do, for instance, damage control, firefighting, first aid and leadership and management as well.
“It’s been a fantastic career so far.”
Learning the ropes of HMS Spey
He reflected on the differences between ship types, as he is more used to the Type 23 frigate – a smaller vessel than HMS Spey.
He added: “My background is on Type 23 frigate’s so its been really interesting to see how a smaller crew manages with the same tasks as a bigger ship.
“We have to do the same maintenance, the same type of training activities so to see how the small crew pulls together to achieve that, it’s been really rewarding to see that.”
The father-of-one says learning the ropes has been the crew’s biggest challenge so far.
“HMS Spey is a brand new ship and we have had to learn her,” he said.
“We have had to learn what the ship can do because they are still brand new so that’s probably been the biggest challenge.
“We feel like we have got there and we’ve learned its capabilities now so we’re really looking forward to deploying the ship to the other side of the world to fly the white Ensign and look after British interests abroad.”
Enduring Covid-19 at sea
Like the rest of us, Covid-19 has made work difficult – with the crew stranded onboard at times.
“It’s been tough, especially towards the beginning,” Lt Royle said.
“There have been quite a few times where we haven’t been able to leave the ship or we have only been allowed to travel directly home.
“We’ve been hard-pressed to manage that but we have tried as best we can to allow people home to see their families because that’s really important.”
Looking ahead to his upcoming deployment, Lt Royle said he is looking forward to representing his country overseas.
He said: “To work with our regional and international allies and partners around the world to strengthen the bonds we already have and to develop me bonds with out partners around the world.
“It’s going to be a great opportunity to fly the white Ensign and see other places.”