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Survey ship begins new vital mission

HMS Scott sails for her latest deployment. Picture: LPhot Kyle Heller
17 June 2021
HMS Scott has started her latest mission – to survey the North Atlantic and collect vital data.

The only ship in her class, Scott left the UK following a maintenance period in Falmouth and rigorous training off the south coast. 

Her primary task is surveying the deep oceans, collecting bathymetric and data for submarine navigation information for UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO).

Scott is the only ship in the world capable of deep ocean survey, she often deploys alone to remote parts of the globe collecting enormous swathes of data, that sometimes during a deployment can measure up to the size of Austria. HMS Scott alone has gathered data for 3.7 percent of the world’s oceans during her lifetime.

This year it's been busy for the 87-strong crew, especially the marine engineers. HMS Scott is one of few ships in the Royal Navy that operate a ballast system, enabling her to increase or decrease her draught as required. Following a long, successful 2020 at sea, she returned home and began a complete overall in Falmouth.

One of the engineering challenges was renovating the ballast system that had been in operation since she was built in 1997. Working closely with industry partners and all under the careful supervision, the engineering team set about conducting the required work. 

For their dedication to restoring the ship to her best material state in years, the Engineering Department were awarded a Herbert Lott Efficiency Award. 


I have an enthusiastic crew or highly trained specialists, whether that be collecting data or in the supporting functions of engineering, logistics or seamanship,

Commander Tom Harrison, HMS Scott’s Commanding Officer

Leading Engineering Technician (LET) Leah Jones, who has served in the RN for six years, said: “Integrating new systems with old, can pose a real challenge. However, it’s been rewarding to install major upgrades that’s breathing life back into Scott in her 24th year, ready for another busy summer in the North Atlantic.”

The deployment is the first time AB (Hydrography and Meteorology) Josh Kime has gone to sea since joining two years ago.

He said: “Since joining, the maintenance period, has provided ample opportunity to practice shore side survey techniques such as levelling and installing of tide gauges, I’m looking forward to going to sea. When deployed I monitor the quality of data being collected and ensure the correct environmental parameters are used throughout the survey. It’ll be very rewarding putting my training into practice, helping HMS Scott to deliver on her tasking.”

HMS Scott’s Commanding Officer Commander Tom Harrison said: “Scott has been through a most challenging period in her history.  It is down to the hard work and determination of my crew that we are now ready to return to our vitally important role. We will conduct survey operations in the North Atlantic, collecting data with our hi-tech, cutting edge survey systems which will then go toward producing charts for submarine and surface navigation.
"I navigated HMS Scott in 2013, and it's fantastic coming back to this brilliant ship. I have an enthusiastic crew of highly trained specialists, whether that be for collecting data or in the supporting functions of engineering, logistics or seamanship. It's a great privilege to be their Commanding Officer. 

"The ship’s unique role means that it can sometimes be the unsung hero of the Royal Navy. Operating thousands of miles from land, she does sometimes go a little under the radar, but her work is vital for the security and safety, and as such vital for our nation."

As well as her high-tech survey equipment, Scott sailed with 1,800 sausages, 3,000 eggs, 6,000 rashers of bacon, 500 litres of washing up liquid and 1,440 toilet rolls.


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