(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.
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.
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.