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Scott takes Pole position again

25 November 2010

AS THE sun tints the horizon with a reddish-orange hue, a tug helps HMS Scott down the Hamoaze at first light today.

And if you think it was parky this morning as the survey ship departed Devonport, well its positively redders compared with her destination.

With HMS Endurance’s fate still undetermined nearly two years after she came close to foundering in the South Atlantic, it falls to Scott to uphold the nation’s long-standing commitment to scientific research and safety in the waters of the Antarctic.

Scott filled in for the Red Plum last winter (or summer as it is in the southern hemisphere), surveying 3,000 miles of uncharted ocean in the process. Her sonar scanners and hi-tech software gave scientists a unique (and rather colourful) view of what lies beneath these cold waters, including newly-discovered undersea volcanoes.

It is exactly 100 years since Capt Scott – for whom the survey vessel is named – arrived in Antarctica at the beginning of his ill-fated expedition to the South Pole.

“It could be no more fitting that HMS Scott  is to conduct operations in the Antarctica in the 100th anniversary year of Captain Scott's final Antarctic expedition,” said the survey ship’s CO Cdr Gary Hesling.

As she did last season, the ship will provide hydrographic data for the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office to update its charts of waters becoming increasingly popular with mariners, not least ‘eco-tourists’ in cruise ships.

Although not technically an ice breaker, Scott can cope with ice up to 80cm (2.5ft). Her sonar wizardry is capable of surveying the deepest oceans in continuous lines of up to 400 miles in length.

Picture: LA(Phot) Dan Hooper, FRPU West

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