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Scott sails just four nights before Christmas

HMS Scott leaving Plymouth by night

21/12/2012

Just four nights before Christmas, the Royal Navy’s largest survey ship will slip her moorings in Plymouth to head to the Middle East. HMS Scott will be gathering data on waters east of Suez until the spring – the first time in four years she’s been to the region.

Although we’ll be away from families and friends over Christmas, the ship’s company have been eager to depart and get on with the tasks set for them
Cdr Pat Mowatt

HMS Scott will slip into the winter’s night this evening – the last Royal Navy ship of 2012 to deploy on active service… after all homecoming vessels have returned to port.

The survey ship was due to slip her moorings and head down the Hamoaze this morning, but fog thwarted her departure until 45 minutes before the witching hour (or 11.15pm if you prefer).

Just four nights before Christmas, the Royal Navy’s fifth largest vessel (only the carriers and assault ships are bigger) is leaving Devon to resume her global surveying mission, this time east of Suez.

It’s the first time in more than four years that she’s been to that part of the world – and means a return to her traditional duties: spending summers in the North Atlantic and winters in the calmer waters on the other side of the Suez Canal.

That routine was upset somewhat when HMS Endurance flooded back in 2008 and for two Austral summers, Scott filled the gap left by the Red Plum with surveying work around Antarctica.

With HMS Protector now in service (and currently also deployed this Christmas off the frozen continent), Scott can resume her regular mission.

Although we’ll be away from families and friends over Christmas, the ship’s company have been eager to depart and get on with the tasks set for them,” said Cdr Pat Mowatt, Scott’s Commanding Officer.

My crew have worked tirelessly over the past few months to ensure HMS Scott is ready for this deployment. The rigorous work-up schedule has been challenging and we are extremely well-prepared.”

Despite Scott’s size – 13,500 tons, 430ft long – there’s a crew of just 52 aboard, with a further 26 back in the UK; every few weeks, one third of the ship’s company rotates, allowing her to sustain surveying operations for lengthy periods.

The survey ship’s size is determined by her hi-tech surveying and sonar suites; the latter can survey the deepest ocean in continuous lines up to 400 miles long.

In this instance, she’s due to return home in the spring.

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