‘General Chart of Terra Australis or Australia’ by Cdr Matthew Flinders, HMS Investigator, 1798-1803

‘General Chart of Terra Australis or Australia’ by Cdr Matthew Flinders, HMS Investigator, 1798-1803. In collection of National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

HM Sloop Investigator on the South Coast of New Holland, January 1802

‘A Bay on the South Coast of New Holland, January 1802’ by William Westall. Painting in collection of Ministry of Defence (via BBC Your Paintings).

Fascinated by the potential mineral wealth of the newly-discovered Terra Australis (Australia), the Admiralty sent Captain Matthew Flinders to follow elements of Captain James Cook’s map and to explore, particularly, the South Coast of the new continent – between what is now known as Albany and Melbourne. The artist accompanying the voyage in 1801 was the very young William Westall. This particular painting is typical of his developing lyrical style: a superb landscape painter, his particular strengths were his ability to show strange trees and vegetation, such as the snake which is shown in the foreground. The ship at anchor in the bay is HMS Investigator.

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.