HMS Magpie

Magpie is the newest addition to the RN’s hydrographic squadron, replacing veteran survey launch Gleaner which paid off earlier this year in Plymouth after 35 years’ under the White Ensign.

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Magpie is due to be formally handed over to the RN in May 2018 and be ceremonially commissioned into the Navy early in the summer.  She will then join the rest of the hydrographic squadron in Devonport.

Magpie – named after the Duke of Edinburgh’s only command – is bigger than Gleaner, can stay at sea much longer (she has two messes/accommodation compartments for up to 12 crew and a galley which can meet the sailors’ needs for up to seven days), and is much more resilient in rough seas.

The RN expects Magpie to be able to maintain 20 knots in a Sea State Four with waves up to 2½ metres high.

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.

Otherwise, Magpie’s role is largely the same as Gleaners ensuring the approaches to the UK’s ports are safe by scanning the seabed, updating charts and generally acting as another pair of eyes and ears into events in home waters.

New survey ship HMS Magpie on sea trials

New survey ship HMS Magpie on sea trials

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