September 6, 2018 – The Royal Navy’s new survey ship, HMS Magpie, will visit Dartmouth and Salcombe for the first-time next week (Monday 10 – Wednesday 12 September).
HMS Magpie was formally commissioned in June and is part of the Hydrographic Squadron based at Devonport Naval Base. The ship replaced HMS Gleaner, which paid off earlier this year after 35 years’ service.
Departing her homeport on Monday, HMS Magpie is due to arrive in the River Dart during the afternoon. On arrival the ship’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander (Lt Cdr) William Alexander, will pay a courtesy call on Captain Jol Woodard, the Commanding Officer of Britannia Royal Naval College.
The next morning staff and Officer Cadets will be invited to take a look around the ship. In the afternoon the Cadets who are interested in joining the Hydrographic survey branch will be taken to sea to get an insight into HMS Magpie’s capabilities and her sophisticated equipment.
After a second overnight stop in Dartmouth, HMS Magpie will depart for Salcombe, her affiliated town, when Lt Cdr Alexander will meet with the town’s civic dignitaries. The ship will sail for Devonport later in the day.
Lt Cdr William Alexander said, “This will be the first time that HMS Magpie has sailed under the white ensign following our commissioning in June. The ship’s primary role is to maintain the integrity of coastal waters, ensuring safety of navigation and the resilience of key national infrastructure in UK ports. With an enduring presence around the UK, she will also contribute to national security at sea. My Ship’s Company are very much looking forward to getting to sea and demonstrating our capabilities.”
HMS Magpie is an 18-metre catamaran and provides an essential survey and underwater survey capability. She is the first vessel to be delivered under a contract negotiated by Defence Equipment and Support with Atlas Elektronik UK Ltd. The contract is also set to deliver new boats for Britannia Royal Naval College, which will replace the familiar blue Picket boats used by Cadets during their training.
The only Royal Navy ship of her type, HMS Magpie is highly capable. She has on board the latest high-resolution, shallow-water multi-beam echo sounder and side-scan sonar and can launch remote-controlled underwater devices to search wide areas of the sea bed for obstructions and mines.
The current HMS Magpie is the eighth Royal Naval vessel to bear the name. Her predecessor was an anti-submarine frigate, launched in 1943 and broken up in 1959. The ship was the only vessel commanded by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, who was at the helm between 1950 and 1952, while the ship was operating in the Mediterranean.