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Montevideo, December 11th 2017 - 13:27 UTC

HMS Endurance to Argentina for urgent repairs

Wednesday, March 8th 2006 - 21:00 UTC
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“There are no political overtones in this at all, it's just a necessary repair job that has to be done as quickly as possible, which means going to the nearest available dry dock of a size to take Endurance. She's a big ship and there aren't that many big dry docks around the South Atlantic.”

This was Acting Governor of the Falklands, Miss Harriet Hall, telling listeners to the Falkland Islands Radio Station (F.I.R.S) on Tuesday that the Royal Navy's ice patrol vessel, HMS Endurance, is to visit Argentina for urgent repairs.

The announcement comes just weeks after the ship visited the southern Argentine port of Ushuaia provoking much criticism in the Islands.

According to Miss Hall, HMS Endurance, which was to have visited the Falkland Islands capital Stanley in the next few weeks, has developed "real problems with one of her rudders" which she described as "quite serious" requiring the ship to go into dry dock.

HMS Endurance displaces 6000 tons, is 91m. long, 17.9m. in the beam and draws 8.5m. Described as "the Royal Navy's most unique ship" she is a Norwegian-built, Class 1 Icebreaker, originally called MV Polar Circle. The Royal Navy chartered her in 1991 before she commissioned as HMS Polar Circle on 21 Nov 91. She was subsequently renamed HMS Endurance. According to the Royal Navy, HMS Endurance's official mission is "to patrol and survey the Antarctic and South Atlantic, maintaining Sovereign Presence with Defence Diplomacy and supporting the global community of Antarctica".

The current HMS Endurance replaced the earlier ice patrol vessel of the same name, which figured prominently in the conflict between Britain and Argentina. British historian Hugh Bicheno claims in his book ?Razor's Edge', that the announced scrapping of this last symbol of British commitment to the South Atlantic as part of planned defence cuts for 1982 was "undoubtedly among the ?signals' which led the Argentines to believe they could invade with impugnity."

John Fowler - Stanley

Categories: Falkland Islands.

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