HMS Magpie (H130)

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HMS Magpie at HMNB Portsmouth.jpg
Magpie sailing in HMNB Portsmouth
United Kingdom
NameHMS Magpie
OperatorRoyal Navy
Ordered18 August 2017
  • Safehaven Marine
  • Atlas Elektronik UK
Laid downSeptember 2017
Commissioned28 June 2018[2]
HomeportHMNB Devonport
MottoLux in Tenebris Lucet ("Shine Light into Darkness")[3]
StatusIn service
General characteristics
Displacement37 tonnes
Length18 m
Beam6.2 m
Draught1.4 m
Propulsion2 × Yanmar 6AYEM diesel engines
Speed23 knots (26.5 mph; 42.6 km/h)

HMS Magpie is a survey ship of the Royal Navy, intended for use on inshore and coastal survey work. Magpie replaced HMS Gleaner. She was accepted by the RN in May 2018 and commissioned on 28 June 2018.[4]


HMS Magpie undergoing sea trials

In August 2017, the replacement for HMS Gleaner, the Royal Navy's existing inshore survey launch, was announced to be one of a total of 38 multi-role workboats of various sizes being constructed to undertake various duties. The main structure of the vessel was constructed by Safehaven Marine, a boatbuilding company based in Cork.[5] In February 2018, it was announced that the ship would be named HMS Magpie.[6] The type selected for the inshore survey vessel was based on Safehaven's Wildcat 60 catamaran design, the largest available at 18m in length, and with a displacement of 37 tonnes. Magpie was built to accommodate a crew of 12 for up to seven days, with the capability of operating in all weathers. Following completion and initial trials by Safehaven Marine, Magpie was subsequently delivered to Atlas Elektronik UK (AEUK) for installation of its mission equipment. In April 2018, Magpie underwent further trials with its mission equipment installed,[1] before final delivery of the vessel to the Royal Navy in May 2018 for commissioning in early summer.[7]

As Magpie is considerably larger than the vessel she replaces, the title of smallest commissioned vessel in the Royal Navy, which had belonged to Gleaner, passed to the two Scimitar-class patrol vessels.[5] Magpie will be a significant improvement over her predecessor, both in terms of equipment – not only will she feature better on-board equipment than Gleaner, but will also have the capability of launching and recovering UUVs – and endurance.[7]

One of Magpie's first major taskings was a continuation of work done by her predecessor Gleaner in surveying Portsmouth Harbour to ensure the stability of the seabed in anticipation of Portsmouth's use by the aircraft carriers Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales.[8]

Once the work in Portsmouth harbour is complete, the Magpie will head to the wreck site of the Mary Rose, Henry VIII's flagship, to survey the sea floor for anything of significance.[9]

Work will then begin on investigating the wreck of a French galley which was lost off the north-east coast of the Isle of Wight around the same time as the Mary Rose.[9]


  1. 1.0 1.1 ""HMS Magpie, the RN's newest 'ship' is now finished and is about to begin sea trials."". Twitter. 16 April 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  2. "Magpie enters HMNB Devonport". UK Defence Journal. 22 June 2018. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  3. "Light shines for HMS Magpie as Prince Philip endorses new rallying cry". Royal Navy. 13 January 2021. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  4. "Royal Navy commissions new survey ship HMS Magpie".
  5. 5.0 5.1 Corby, Samuel (23 August 2017). "Details released on HMS Gleaner replacement". UK Defence Journal. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  6. "Royal Navy's new small survey vessel will be called HMS Magpie". Naval Today. 2 February 2018. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Royal Navy (24 April 2018). "New survey ship HMS Magpie on sea trials". Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  8. Corby, Samuel (2 April 2019). "One of the Royal Navy's smallest vessels deploys to support its biggest". UK Defence Journal. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "HMS Magpie (H130) | Royal Navy". (in English). Retrieved 2021-06-25.

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