Royal Navy survey vessel HMS Echo continues search for MH370

Echo was launched at Appledore Shipbuilders, Bideford on 4 March 2002 and commissioned into the Royal Navy on 13 March 2003. Lead vessel in her class (HMS Enterprise is Echo’s sister ship), she was designed to carry out a wide range of survey work, including support to submarine and amphibious operations, through the collection of oceanographic and bathymetric (analysis of the ocean, its salinity and sound profile) data.

The search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

On 20 March, 2014, Echo was operating in the Persian Gulf, midway through an 18-month hydrographic surveying deployment, when she was tasked to assist the Royal Australian Navy search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in a sector of the Indian Ocean 2,400 km (1,295 nmi) southwest of Perth, Australia.

Echo’s Commanding Officer Commander Phillip Newell said his 60 men and women were giving the search their all. “My ship’s company are working 24/7 to find MH370. They are young, bright and enthusiastic and will step up to every challenge in the search for the missing aircraft. I am immensely proud of them.”

The Australian govt is overseeing search operations from its newly created Joint Agency Coordination Centre. Eight countries are involved in the search.

Royal Navy survey ship HMS Echo (H87) and Royal Australian Air Force P-3C Orion aircraft in search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. Photo: Crown copyright, 2014.

HMS Echo (H87) Royal Navy hydrographic survey ship. Photo: Crown copyright, 2013.

On the bridge of HMS Echo (H87), Royal Navy hydrographic survey ship. Photo: Moshi Anahory, 2012.

HMS Echo (H87), 2012. Photo: SAC Dave Vine , Crown copyright.

HMS Protector leaves Portsmouth for the last time

HMS Protector (A173) was chartered in 2011 as a temporary replacement for HMS Endurance (A171). She was purchased outright by the Ministry of Defence in 2013 when it became clear that Endurance would not return to service.

Navy’s ice patrol ship leaves Portsmouth for the last time

by Sam Bannister

The Royal Navy’s ice patrol ship HMS Protector has left Portsmouth for the last time today.

Her ship’s company are off on a double deployment to the frozen continent of Antarctica.

When the ship returns, she will head for her new home port of Devonport in Plymouth.

The 5,000-­tonne ship will stay in the region for two consecutive deployments, returning to the UK in spring 2015.

She will conduct surveys and patrols on behalf of the UK Hydrographic Office, British Antarctic Survey and Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

HMS Protector’s commanding officer, Captain Rhett Hatcher, said: ‘The ship’s company have worked incredibly hard in training and preparation over the summer.

‘We have installed a number of equipment upgrades and improvements and having completed operational sea training we are now ready for the challenges of the planned double deployment.

‘Experienced members of the crew and new ones alike are very much looking forward to this deployment and proudly flying the White Ensign and the Union Flag around the Antarctic territories and the region.’

HMS Endurance to be scrapped, HMS Protector offers “offers good value for money”

Endurance been out of service since 2008. All we’ve been doing for the last 5-years is waiting for the shoe to drop. Protector is a perfectly adequate replacement. So there’s no need for drama. Besides which, the Endurance that many of you are no doubt thinking of is this one (1967-1991) and not this one (1991-2008).

HMS Endurance: Former ice patrol ship to be scrapped

HMS Endurance, which was replaced by HMS Protector in 2011, is also known as Red Plum

The Royal Navy’s former ice patrol ship HMS Endurance – damaged when its engine control room flooded off the Chilean coast in 2008 – is to be scrapped.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the Portsmouth-based ship, which was replaced by HMS Protector in 2011, would go out of service in 2015.

A MoD spokesman said the “damage sustained” by the ship off Chile meant repairs were not “economically viable”.

The incident near South America saw 15 civilians airlifted to safety.

The spokesman said: “Given the level of damage sustained and the subsequent deterioration of the ship, it was not considered economically viable to repair her.”

‘Value for money’

The mission of the ship, which is also known as Red Plum, was to patrol and survey the Antarctic and South Atlantic. That duty has now being undertaken by HMS Protector.

HMS Protector underwent a refit to join the Royal Navy.

HMS Protector was built in 2001 as an Antarctic research ship and was formerly known under the Norwegian name of MV Polarbjorn.It underwent a refit to join the Royal Navy and was officially named HMS Protector in June 2011.

The MoD spokesman said £5m had been spent “to bring HMS Protector up to the Royal Navy’s world-class standards” and work had been done to improve the ship’s communications systems and add specialist hydrographic equipment, including a survey motor boat.

“The purchase of HMS Protector offers good value for money and secures the UK’s long term ice patrol survey capability,” he said.

Operation Deep Freeze I (1957)

Naval History and Heritage Command, Photographic Section, UM-26.

Arctic Shipping (1958)

MSTS Arctic Operations 1950-1957.

HMS Echo conducts hydrographic training with Libyan Navy

HMS Echo (H87) is a hydrographic and oceanographic survey ship built by Appledore and commissioned into the Royal Navy in 2003. In addition to her survey rôle, Echo is equipped to support support mine warfare and amphibious operations.

UK Warship helping Navy chart Libyan waters arrives in Tripoli

HMS Echo has been stationed in Libyan waters for a fortnight, on a training and survey operation with the Libyan Navy (Photo: Tom Westcott, Libya Herald)

Tripoli, 5 July 2013:British warship HMS Echo docked in Tripoli yesterday, after spending a fortnight training members of the Libyan Navy in modern underwater surveying methods.

Seventeen members of the Libyan Navy’s hydrographic department, including three senior officers, have had hands-on experience using the ship’s state-of-the-art sonar surveying methods.

HMS Echo, a vessel designed to collect data for both military and civilian use, has been recording and charting deep waters off the coast of Al Khoms and Tripoli. In shallower waters, Echo’s smaller survey launch has been taking detailed oceanographic data from inside the two ports.

Using sonar, the surveys have been recording depths and identifying obstacles that have not previously been charted. The Port of Khoms has never been surveyed before and the information held for Tripoli Port is not up-to-date.

“The survey is very useful for the Libyan Navy,” officer Fathi Salheen told the Libya Herald, “especially the depths of water in the ports because this is useful for any vessels hoping to berth in either port.”

Salheen said the training has been very beneficial. He added that it had been particularly good to see modern equipment and technologies in use and learn correct procedures.

Working with the Libyan Navy had also been excellent training for the UK crew, Echo’s Commander Matt Syrett told the Libya Herald. “This has been very interesting for us,” he said, “because we are usually working with existing charts.”

There is no complete chart of Libya’s territorial waters and the information currently held by the navy was mostly collected in the 1980s, and is incomplete. HMS Echo’s surveying will leave the Libyan Navy with a complete and detailed survey charting 283 square kilometres of territorial waters.