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HMS Endurance

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 22 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what his most recent assessment is of the extent of damage to HMS Endurance; and what his most recent estimate is of the cost of repair; (248805)

(2) what his Department’s plans are for the future of HMS Endurance;

(3) how and when HMS Endurance will be returned to the UK.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has been made of the extent of the damage to HMS Endurance as a result of the recent flooding incident; what method will be used to return the vessel to the United Kingdom; and whether repair or replacement will be the more economical long-term option. (248532)

HMS Endurance suffered extensive damage to her engine room and some accommodation areas during the flooding incident in December. Subject to further assessments, our intention is that the ship will return to the UK, by heavy lift repair ship or barge, for repair prior to her return to service, at a date to be agreed. I am withholding the projected repair costs as they are commercial-in-confidence.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how the operational duties of HMS Endurance will be carried out when she is out of commission. (248808)

Her Majesty's Government are aware of the strategic value of sovereign presence in the South Atlantic and Antarctic regions. A number of options are under consideration but it is not yet clear how long the repairs to HMS Endurance will take. HMS Endurance normally undertakes her duties in the austral summer so this year's patrol has, through force of circumstance, been curtailed. Operational deployments are continually weighed against defence responsibilities around the world and therefore it would be inappropriate to provide detail at this point in the planning stage for HMS Endurance's repairs and return to duty.