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Visit by Friends of SPRI to HMS Scott

Visit by Friends of SPRI to HMS Scott

Ocean Survey Vessel (OSV)

Plymouth, 16th October 2009

HMS Scott deploying from Devonport, October 2009
HMS Scott deploying from Devonport, October 2009

More than 20 members of the Friends were received on board by Lt. Commander Philip Harper and his officers and crew shortly before HMS Scott sailed to the Southern Ocean to take up her duties replacing HMS Endurance. The ship has recently come out of refit and is in excellent shape for her new role.

Robin Back receives HMS Scott plaque
FoSPRI chairman Robin Back receives HMS Scott plaque
from XO Lt Cdr Phillip Harper oct 09.JPG

A key part of this is undersea or bathymetric mapping of the sea floor using her state-of-the-art side-scan sonar array. As Lt. Cmdr Tony Jenks explained, this is a line of devices across the beam of the ship which send out sonar pulses in a fan shape downwards towards the sea bed. The echoes, as these pulses are reflected back to the ship, are measured by a second array of devices. The results are processed and result in a computer generated 3D image of the sea floor. The whole process is continuous as the ship moves forward along a pre-determined path at a steady speed. Depending on sea conditions, she is able to accurately map up to 150 KM2 in an hour. We were shown a bathymetric survey off the coast of North Sumatra (Bandar Aceh) which clearly showed the underground trench and debris slide arising from the tectonic movements and which caused the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami.

HMS Scott group
HMS Scott XO LtCdr Philip Harper, Chair FSPRI Robin Back &
Julian Evans, grandson of Scott's Deputy Leader

We were also shown the rest of the ship from the engine room to the Bridge and the well-appointed crew accommodation in between. The ship is manned to commercial marine levels as she is not a warship although all officers and crew are of course Royal Navy personnel. Lunch in the wardroom brought the occasion to a close when thanks were tendered. Julian Evans (grandson of Lt. Teddy Evans) had brought with him a piece of family silver which had been used on the Terra Nova. Lt. Cmdr Harper very generously presented a shield of the HMS Scott badge and motto and a suitable place will be found for this in the Institute as soon as we can.

As a footnote, HMS Scott sailed at 22:00 hrs on Monday 26th October and we gather will be undertaking additional survey work on her long voyage south.