First ‘HMS’ vessel from Safehaven

'HMS Magpie replaces the RN vessel 'HMS Gleaner' and offers higher operational speeds
'HMS Magpie replaces the RN vessel 'HMS Gleaner' and offers higher operational speeds
'HMS Magpie' was officially launched at Devonport
'HMS Magpie' was officially launched at Devonport
'HMS Magpie' in rough water trials off Ireland's Atlantic coast
'HMS Magpie' in rough water trials off Ireland's Atlantic coast

As previously reported in brief in ‘MJ’, Irish boatbuilder Safehaven Marine recently delivered a Wildcat 60 catamaran ‘HMS Magpie’ to Atlas Elektronik UK for use by the Royal Navy.

HMS Magpie was formally commissioned in a naming ceremony at Devonport. Construction commenced in April 2017 in a contract to supply the largest vessel of the UK Ministry of Defence’s new Sea Class Workboats programme for 38 boats, awarded to prime contractor, AEUK.

HMS Magpie was launched on schedule in March 2018 and underwent extensive sea trials by Safehaven, to ensure she was ‘fit for purpose’ and capable of fulfilling the Royal Navy’s demanding requirement to maintain 20kts in sea state 4 with 2.5m seas, which she comfortably achieved.

Safehaven’s MD commented “This is certainly one of our most prestigious deliveries especially as it is an ‘HMS class’ vessel for the British Royal Navy”. HMS Magpie replaces the RN vessel HMS Gleaner and offers higher operational speeds, sea keeping abilities and endurance as well as crew accommodation and comfort. After acceptance in Ireland she was sailed to Portland where AEUK fitted her hydrographic equipment, gained acceptance and coordinated hand over to the Royal Navy.

Lieutenant Commander William Alexander, HMS Magpie’s new Commanding Officer and HMS Gleaner’s last said “HMS Magpie will help lead the way in modernising the Royal Navy’s survey and underwater surveillance capabilities. Her primary role will be in maintaining the integrity of coastal waters, ensuring the safety of navigation and resilience of key national infrastructure in UK waters. And with an enduring presence around the UK, she will also contribute to national security as sea.”

The ‘SEA Class’ range of vessels was developed by AEUK in response to a demand for safe, reliable and flexible boats that can be rapidly reconfigured for a number of different naval operational roles. The multi-role vessels share common components and are modular in design. This unique approach enables rapid re-roleing for a range of specialised operational roles.

HMS Magpie has a length of 18m and a 6.2m beam, its catamaran hull form employing a ‘high buoyancy’ bow form enabling her to operate in quite extreme sea states without slamming occurring on her bridge deck. She is fitted with twin 900hp Yanmar 6AYM 20.3 litre diesel engines and Hamilton HM521 waterjet drive propulsion. AC power is supplied by a Fischer Panda 20kw generator. A very sophisticated navigation and communications package supplied by AMBEX is fitted as befitting a vessel of its class and its sophisticated multi-role operational requirement.

Her superstructure is in an ‘Island configuration’ offering safe passage and working space all round her deck and features a raised bridge deck, ensuring her helmsman and navigator have a commanding all round view enabling safe close quarters manoeuvring and navigation underway. Her accommodation is spacious allowing up to nine crew to sleep aboard below decks in two cabins. She features a large galley providing her crew with the ability to cater for themselves during extended operations. Two separated heads compartments with shower facilities are provided.

Her main cabin is fitted with a large dinette area, this is open to the module incorporating her working space, which is fitted with computer racking for her hydrographic equipment and work benches, accommodating six operatives.

Her accommodation is fully climate controlled, with a very high level of fit out throughout, 43,000btu of air conditioning ensures a very comfortable crew environment. Crew safety is further ensured by shock mitigation seating supplied by KPM.

A substantial Palfinger PK6500 deck crane allows loading of cargo and specialised equipment on to her large and spacious aft deck area, which also incorporates a deck winch for deployment and towing of sonar equipment.

By Jake Frith

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