MV Magpie sailed into Devonport Dockyard prior to her being commissioned as HMS Magpie next week 28th June 2018, say the Royal Navy.

“Magpie is the newest addition to the Royal Navy’s Hydrographic squadron, replacing veteran survey ship HMS Gleaner, which paid off earlier this year in Plymouth after 35 years’ under the White Ensign in HM Naval Base Devonport. HMS Magpie enters HMNB Devonport”

The Royal Navy’s newest Ship has made her first entry into her new home of Devonport. Under a Blue ensign to signify she is not, as yet a Royal Navy ship, MV Magpie sailed into Devonport Dockyard prior to her being commissioned as HMS Magpie next week 28th June 2018.

Earlier in the month, the survey vessel moved a step closer to formally joining the fleet with its nine-strong crew embarking for the first time.

The crew have been busy moving in and undertaking training exercises as they familiarise themselves with their new home ahead of her formal commissioning ceremony in the next few weeks. Their first week has also seen them join their fellow survey ships Echo and Enterprise on social media, launching the ship’s official twitter page.

Leading the crew is Lieutenant Commander Will Alexander who comes in as Magpie’s first commanding officer with an impressive resume that includes an international exchange with the Royal New Zealand Navy’s survey teams and being the final commanding officer for Magpie’s predecessor HMS Gleaner.

Speaking at the time of her sea trials Lt Cdr Alexander said that:

“Magpie will help lead the way in modernising the Royal Navy’s survey and underwater surveillance capabilities.”

The new vessel is larger and more capable than her predecessor, forfeiting the smallest commissioned vessel mantle held by her predecessor to the fast patrol boats of the Gibraltar Squadron. The vessel is an 18m, 37 tonne, derivative of Safehaven Marine’s  proven Wildcat 60 catamaran design. Sea trials indicate that she should be able to maintain 20 knots in Sea State Four conditions and 2.5m waves.

Her hydrographic equipment will include the latest generation of equipment including a modern 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.

As with her predecessor her primary purpose will be to ensure the approaches to British ports are safe by scanning the seabed and updating charts while maintaining another white ensign flying presence in home waters.


  1. Well, they joined social media back in April, though it’s nice to see them posting up some images.

    Magpie will obviously prove to be a valuable asset, as was her predecessor.

  2. ” As the inevitable Helions posting on the subject continues to bore – EVERYONE -”

    “The mighty new super dreadnought HMS Magpie finally enters her new home port after years and millions of pounds are spent dredging and enlarging the channels, piers, and berthing spaces to allow access to for her, the newest and most powerful of her ilk, and her soon to follow sisters…”

    Sorry! I just can’t seem to HELP myself here…! 😀

  3. Stop swearing ukdefencejournal
    Are you sure you got this correct
    I had to pick myself off the floor
    Are you sure you didnt type the wrong word on your keyboard?
    Are you sure you have your predictive text on?
    Devonport Plymouth
    Are you sure you dont mean Portsmouth

  4. I see a lighthearted mood prevails on this thread! “Plucky” is the right word-have a look at her sea trials on You tube!!

  5. It has not even got any anti ship missiles, what is it with the MOD under arming ships, she needs at least Harpoon and a CIWS. What happens if the French invade……useless that’s what she will be.

  6. You are all missing the most important question that needs to be asked about this vessel: Does it have a cat and if so does it have a Twitter account? If not, then that is a national disgrace, the RN is a laughing stock and it is yet another unacceptable capability cut.

  7. Magpie should not be compared to the new Colombian vessel. Magpie, like Gleaner, is intended for coastal/inshore work, not ocean hydrographic work. Gleanor’s small size allowed her to do survey work where much larger ships would find it difficult or impossible due to their size. Gleanor surveyed the Firth of Forth to ensure that HMS QE could safely negotiate it without grounding. Magpie will continue this vital work. Imagine the furore if Gleaner had not been replaced and one of the carriers scraped her bottom due to seabed changes that had not been picked up, and the time and expense that would be needed to examine and carry out repairs. Though a very small vessel, she is ideal for the tasks for which she is intended, work that is absolutely vital to ensure that ships like the QECs can safely leave and enter ports and dockyards. If you want to compare ARC Caribe, then compare like for like…such as the Echo class.

  8. Interesting to read this and then the article in Business Insider covering Britain’s certain decline from Tier One military status to Tier Two. The business analyst believes a sharp decline in military prowess is to happen as the PM and Chancellor now see little to be gained from increased military spending. I am highly amused. Let us hope that all public spending can be reduced relieving the burden on us taxpayers.

  9. I like Magpie – a talented specialist.

    I think she is gteat value for money. I even like the way she looks (and rides the waves).

    I see her as the underdog of the RN – not big, not brash but bloody good.


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