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17 Aug 2022

Navy ship on course for new record after surveying area the size of Portugal in four weeks

Navy ship on course for new record after surveying area the size of Portugal in four weeks
Photo : Royal Navy
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Survey ship HMS Scott is on course to smash her own previous record for scanning the oceans – just four weeks into an epic 15-month deployment.

The unique Plymouth-based ship, the fifth largest vessel to fly the White Ensign, has picked up data covering an area roughly the size of Portugal.

That's equivalent to about a quarter of the ocean she covered during her previous record-breaking patrol.

Scott specialises in deep ocean survey work – reaching parts where other vessels can't – with the emphasis currently on updating data, charts and the general understanding of the mid-Atlantic to assist Royal Navy and NATO operations.

Although Scott's new record is impressive, what she has achieved so far on this journey is a mere 20th of 1% of the Atlantic Ocean, the world's second-largest body of water.

Scott would have to scan another 1,150 Portugals to finish the job.

Her crew isn't quite that ambitious – but intends to break the record 400,000+kms of Atlantic covered during the 2021-22 survey season.

The ship underwent a £7.5m revamp in Falmouth to prepare for her mission, before she sailed in early July.

She's due to return to the UK in the autumn of 2023, although her crew rotate regularly to sustain the long-term operation. 

Alongside the surveying success of the first patrol, the ship's company were kept busy training to deal with emergencies such as fires and floods on board, culminating in a demanding week of ship-led damage control exercises at the end of the patrol, ranging from minor to major incidents involving multiple fires, floods and casualties. 

"As my first time deploying there was definitely a steep learning curve during the intensive training on this patrol, learning not only my day-to-day role but also my role within emergencies," said hydrographic officer Sub Lieutenant Anna Hinsley.

"Although challenging, I really enjoyed the experience and feel it has set me up well for the next leg of deployment where I can continue to build my confidence in these roles."

After four productive weeks at sea, the ship sailed into Santa Cruz, Tenerife, to swap crew, the first Royal Navy vessel in more than five years to visit the holiday island.

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