Docks repairing Navy’s survey ships
Falmouth Docks is currently repairing two of the Royal Navy’s hydrographic survey ships HMS Enterprise and HMS Echo.
HMS Echo returned to Devonport last week after a 19-month deployment. The ship has been away for 593 days with 421 actually at sea and has sailed about 74,000 miles – 2.5 times around the equator.
She made 24 stops in 11 nations and 13 different ports including Valletta, Salalah, Limassol, Gibraltar, Bahrain, Mina Rashid, Dubai, Jebel Ali, Mombasa, Mumbai, Seychelles, Haifa (the first RN ship to visit Israel in four years) and Tripoli (a rare visit by a Royal Naval ship).
HMS Echo surveyed more than 3,150 square miles, the equivalent to the area of Cyprus, conducted 181 seabed samples, the deepest of which was 974 metres, and carried out 986 surveys using sound.
The ship discovered an underwater mountain the size of the Rock of Gibraltar as she sailed through poorly-mapped waters in the Red Sea. She came across the huge feature while searching for volcanoes on the seabed – and also located a World War II wreck off the Libyan coast as her 19-month deployment neared an end. More than 45,000 rounds of ammunition was expended, two of which were fired in anger during a real “quick-draw” incident against a suspected Somali pirate vessel.
The ship’s crew is rotated while on deployment, so all have leave periods ashore in between shifts on board. Three of the crew have got married and seven babies have been born since the ship has been away.