HMS Abdiel (N21)

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For other ships with the same name, see HMS Abdiel.
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Abdiel (N21)
Ordered: June 1965
Builder: Thornycroft
Laid down: 23 May 1966
Launched: 22 January 1967
Commissioned: 17 October 1967
Decommissioned: 1988
Refit: 1977, 1981
Fate: paid off, scrapped
General characteristics [1]
  • 1375 t standard
  • 1460 t full load
Length: 265 ft (81 m)
Beam: 38 ft 6 in (11.73 m)
Draught: 10 ft (3.0 m)
  • 2 shafts, 2 eighteen-cylinder Paxman Ventura diesels
  • 2,960 bhp (2,210 kW)
Speed: 16 kn (18 mph; 30 km/h)
Complement: 98
Sensors and
processing systems:
Type 978 radar

HMS Abdiel was a Royal Navy minelayer that saw service during the Cold War.

Abdiel was ordered from Thornycroft in June 1965. She was laid down at Thornycroft's Woolston shipyard on 23 May 1966[3] and launched 22 January 1967. She was commissioned on 17 October 1967.[1] Her pennant number was N21.[3]


Abdiel was designated by the Ministry of Defence as an "exercise minelayer" and her official role was to train Royal Navy personnel in minelaying operations using test/dummy naval mines, not to lay offensive mines operationally. She was fully capable of laying offensive mines during wartime.[4]

MCM support ship[edit]

Abdiel fulfilled an additional role as a support ship for mine countermeasure vessels. She served in this capacity with the Armilla Patrol from 1987 to 1988. During this deployment, the air conditioning units aboard ship proved insufficient for the climate and additional units had to be dispatched.[5]


  • 1977
  • 1981


Abdiel was paid off in 1988 and sold for scrapping. After her disposal, the Royal Navy had no dedicated minelaying vessel, although provisions were made for "suitably modified vessels" to undertake the work as required.[6]


Abdiel appears in the Royal Navy instructional film 'Minelaying' (Admiralty catalogue no. A2788) produced in 1976. Classified as restricted at the time of its release, the film is now unrestricted and available on archive DVD collections and the Internet.


  1. ^ a b Gardiner and Chumbley 1995, p. 542.
  2. ^ Couhat and Baker 1986, p. 202
  3. ^ a b Moore 1985, p. 630.
  4. ^ Statement on Royal Navy mine-laying capability 22 March 1988
  5. ^ Debate on 1987 Defence Estimates 28 October 1987
  6. ^ Statement regarding paying off of HMS Abdiel 29 June 1988
  • Couhat, Jean Labayle and A.D. Baker. Combat Fleets of the World 1986/87. Annapolis, Maryland, USA: Naval Institute Press, 1986. ISBN 0-85368-860-5.
  • Gardiner, Robert and Stephen Chumbley. Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1947–1995. Annapolis, Maryland USA: Naval Institute Press, 1995. ISBN 1-55750-132-7.
  • Moore, John. Jane's Fighting Ships 1985–86. London: Jane's Yearbooks, 1985. ISBN 0-7106-0814-4.

External links[edit]