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HMS Scott on course to break own survey record on Atlantic mission

17 August 2022
Survey ship HMS Scott is on course to smash her record scanning the oceans after just the first four weeks of an epic 15-month deployment.

The unique Plymouth-based ship – the fifth largest vessel to fly the White Ensign – has hoovered up data covering an area roughly the size of Portugal... or roughly a quarter of the ocean covered during her previous record-breaking patrol.

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

And if surveying an area the size of Portugal in a month sounds (and is) impressive… it’s literally a drop in the (Atlantic) Ocean… a mere 20th of one per cent of the world’s second largest body of water… Or Scott would have to scan another 1,150-plus Portugals to finish the job.

Her crew aren’t that ambitious – but they do intend to break the record 400,000-plus kilometres of Atlantic covered during the 2021-22 survey season.
The ship underwent a £7.5 million revamp in Falmouth to prepare her 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 incidents 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.

Scott was the first Royal Navy vessel in more than five years to visit the holiday island, receiving a warm welcome from both Spanish naval and local authorities.

It’s been a very positive start to the deployment. My crew have really hit the ground running and are working diligently to overcome the many challenges of operating a ship at reach. If we can continue in the same manner, this will be another record breaking effort.

Commander Harrison

Commanding Officer Commander Tom Harrison called in on the regional naval base commander, Capitan de Fragata D. Pablo Dodero Martinez, to thank our NATO allies for their hospitality. 

And the ship hosted 30 dignitaries for a capability demonstration/tour of Scott and a briefing from Cdr Harrison, followed by a buffet lunch onboard. 

Scott’s football team were put through their paces in a friendly match against Club Deportivo Tenerife U21s (a semi-professional side) and came out second best unsurprisingly. 

The ship also received £4,000 from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and Rebalancing Lives for teambuilding activities, including a day at Siam Park, Europe’s largest water park, for all aboard and while the engineering and logistics teams enjoyed trips to a go-karting track.

“Everyone had a great time - it gave the department a chance to bond outside work and let off some steam,” Leading Engineering Technician Benjamin Stevenson said of the karting.

“We are very grateful to the RNRMC, the Rebalancing Lives Fund and the ship’s welfare fund for their contributions, meaning that the day could be enjoyed with no expense to the ship’s company.” 

Commander Harrison added: “It’s been a very positive start to the deployment. My crew have really hit the ground running and are working diligently to overcome the many challenges of operating a ship at reach. If we can continue in the same manner, this will be another record breaking effort.” 

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