A NEW Welsh Government fishing patrol boat, built at Pembroke Dock, was officially named after former First Minister Rhodri Morgan yesterday, December 5.

The 26 metre FPV (Fisheries Patrol Vessel) Rhodri Morgan was built by Mainstay Marine Solutions at Pembroke Dock, along with the 19 metre FPV Lady Megan – named after Megan Arvon Lloyd George the first female MP for a Welsh constituency.

The new vessels will replace the current ageing boats, to effectively protect from illegal fishing activity in Welsh waters and safeguard Wales’ fishing industry and coastal communities in the years ahead.

Stewart Graves, managing director of Mainstay Marine Solutions said: “We are delighted with the progress of the builds so far. Our design, build and project management teams are enthusiastically engaged in ensuring we deliver a high-quality Welsh product on time and in budget.”

Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, officially named the FPV at a ceremony in Cardiff Bay.

As per tradition, Lesley Griffiths ceremoniously poured champagne on the vessel and was presented with a velum of the new Welsh Government Fisheries Enforcement flag.

The FPV Rhodri Morgan, a 26m patrol vessel that weighs 75 ton and carries 11,000 litres of fuel, incorporates the former First Minister of Wales’ name and an illustration of dolphins chasing mackerel to reflect his fondness of spotting dolphins in Mwnt, West Wales. The vessel, built by Mainstay Marine Solutions Ltd this year, also has room for a 6.5metre sea-boat.

Rhodri Morgan’s wife Julie Morgan attended the naming ceremony in his memory. After undergoing sea trials all of the new fleet will be in operation from January.

Speaking at the official naming ceremony, Cabinet Secretary Lesley Griffiths said: “It’s an honour to be able to name this vessel after Rhodri Morgan today; a man who gave so much to Wales and left an indelible mark on our history. This will be a fitting tribute to someone who had a great love of the Welsh seas and our wonderful nature.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my tour of this new patrol vessel and seeing first hand the cutting edge technology that will be leading the fight against illegal fishing activity.

“These vessels will be at the forefront of protecting Welsh waters and our fishing industry, providing a high speed response capability to ensure Wales continues to effectively enforce fisheries and marine laws.

“Ahead of the challenges that we face in a post-Brexit world, it is more important than ever that we focus on sustainability and ensuring our fishing industry is at its strongest possible so we can thrive in the years to come.”