HMS Magpie has been in action already undergoing rough weather sea trials in the Irish Sea less than a month after being launched.
Magpie is the newest addition to the hydrographic squadron, replacing veteran survey launch Gleaner which paid off earlier this year in Plymouth.
Lieutenant Commander William Alexander, Magpie’s new commanding officer and Gleaner’s last, said:
“Magpie will help lead the way in modernising the Royal Navy’s survey and underwater surveillance capabilities. Her primary role will be in maintaining the integrity of coastal waters, ensuring safety of navigation and resilience of key national infrastructure in UK ports. And with an enduring presence around the UK, she will also contribute to national security at sea.”
She’s due to make the journey from Cork to Portland in Dorset for military/hydrographic equipment fitting out, equipment which is a marked improvement on what was installed on Gleaner, such as the latest high-resolution shallow-water multi-beam echo sounder and side-scan sonar. Magpie will also be able to launch remote-controlled underwater devices to search wide areas of seabed for obstructions or mines.
Cork based shipyard Safehaven Marine finished building the vessel recently, the vessel is the largest of a fleet of up to 38 new workboats ranging in size from 11 to 18 metres, for the Ministry of Defence.
These 18m catamarans have a loaded displacement around 37 tonnes with a capacity for up to twelve-crew to be berthed on-board, and an endurance of seven days. They are capable of deploying a range of sonar options and are all weather capable.
Safehave Marine say the design is suited to an ocean research and hydrographic survey catamaran capable of operating offshore for 7 days duration for 12 crew. To facilitate this the vessel has two sleeping cabins, one in the lower port hull and one in the st/bd hull, each fitted with 6x bunk berths and each cabin with its own separate heads compartment. A full galley is positioned in the f/wd port hull and is equipped for extended sea operations, fitted with a large capacity fridge freezer, dishwasher, 240v hob and microwave, large worktop areas and storage.
The vessel is fitted with twin Volvo D16 engines that provide the vessel with a 23kts maximum speed and an 19-20kts operational cruise speed.