Island Offshore, a Norwegian offshore support vessel owner, has sold its 2013-built offshore support vessel Island Crown to the defense ministry.
The vessel, built by Vard, will be converted to support Royal Navy mine-hunting operations – serving as a mother ship to launch drones to find and destroy underwater threats. The navy said earlier this week that the vessel had arrived in Plymouth.
When deployed, the platform will support the safeguarding of UK waters from the threat of mines at sea, operating a range of uncrewed systems that will help keep personnel at a safe distance, the navy said.
Based at His Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde, the 96.8-meter-long vessel will work side-by-side with autonomous mine-hunting systems already operated by the Royal Navy out of Faslane under Project Wilton.
Due to be renamed as it joins the fleet, the vessel arrived at HMNB Devonport, where it will undergo minimal conversion work, primarily to support installation of military communication systems and Royal Fleet Auxiliary operations, before being handed over to the RFA later this year.
The uncrewed systems aboard will include the joint French-UK Maritime Mine Counter Measures (MMCM) system, the Combined Influence Sweep (SWEEP) system and Medium Underwater Autonomous Vehicles (MAUVs).
The purchase of the £40m ship was carried out by Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), the procurement arm of the MOD, the Navy said. The ship is intended to enter service in spring 2023.
This is the second vessel that used to work in the offshore oil and gas industry that the UK defense ministry has acquired in the past month.
To remind, the UK defense ministry said in January that it had bought the Topaz Tangaroa, a subsea construction vessel. The vessel will undergo a period of military modification and will be used to protect subsea cables and oil and gas pipelines.