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New specialist UK MCM mother ship arrives in Plymouth for conversion

The OSV MV Island Crown sails into Plymouth on 30 January. Ahead of delivery to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, the ship will undergo a short period of modifications for its new role as an MCM mother ship, with a view to being operational during the second quarter of 2023. (UK MoD/Crown Copyright)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has procured a second-hand Norwegian commercial offshore support vessel (OSV) that will be converted into a mother ship to host offboard autonomous minehunting systems.

The vessel, currently named MV Island Crown, sailed into Plymouth from Norway to start its refit on 30 January. Following its conversion at His Majesty's Naval Base (HMNB) Devonport, it will be handed over to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) and used to support mine countermeasure (MCM) operations around the UK, as well as in North Atlantic and European waters if required. The ship will be based in Scotland at HMNB Clyde, and will work alongside the autonomous minehunting systems already operated from the base by the Royal Navy's (RN's) First Mine Countermeasures Squadron (MCM1) under Project ‘Wilton'.

MV Island Crown was purchased by the MoD from Island Offshore Management for GBP40 million (USD49.3 million). It was built by Norwegian shipyard Vard Brevik and delivered to Island Offshore in 2013 for use as a Walk-to-Work (WTW) maintenance and subsea support vessel, delivering personnel to oil, gas, and wind installations and supporting general subsea work.

According to the MoD, the ship will require only minimal modification work, primarily to support the installation of military communication systems and RFA operations. Under current planning, the ship is intended to enter service during the second quarter of 2023. Janes

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