HMS Redpole (P259)

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Name: Sea Otter
Operator: Royal Air Force Marine Branch
Ordered: 26 March 1973
Builder: Fairmile, Berwick-upon-Tweed
Laid down: 29 July 1974
Launched: 20 September 1974
Commissioned: 25 March 1975
Out of service: 1985
Fate: Transferred to Royal Navy
Name: HMS Redpole
Namesake: Redpoll
In service: 1985
Out of service: 1994
Status: Sold in 2000 and renamed MV Badtz Maru[1]
Notes: [2]
General characteristics
Class and type: Bird-class patrol vessel
Displacement: 159 long tons (162 t)
Length: 120 ft (37 m) o/a
Beam: 23 ft (7.0 m)
Draught: 6.5 ft (2.0 m)
Propulsion: Two diesel engines, one to each shaft, all giving 4,000 brake horsepower (3,000 kW)
Speed: 21 knots (39 km/h; 24 mph)
Range: 2,200 nautical miles (4,100 km; 2,500 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Complement: 17
Notes: [2]

HMS Redpole (P259) was built in 1970 by Fairmile Marine at Berwick-upon-Tweed as RAFV Sea Otter, the third Seal class Long Range Recovery and Support Craft of the Royal Air Force Marine Branch. The Seal class was similar to the Bird-class patrol vessels of the British Royal Navy. .[2]

Royal Naval service[edit]

In anticipation of the disbandment of the RAF Marine Branch in 1986, Sea Otter was transferred to the Royal Navy on 30 October 1984, and at Brooke Marine, Lowestoft she was refitted - given armaments, a light grey livery, enclosed wheelhouse and extended bridge wings, and modified several times over the years to help her in her role patrolling Northern Ireland.[1]

Post-UK service[edit]

As part of the cuts in the defence budget Redpole was replaced in 1994 by a River-class minesweeper, and was subsequently earmarked for disposal.[1]

The ship was sold in 1996, and spent four years tied up in Southampton. The ship was sold again in 2000 to a founder of Digex, renamed RV Badtz Maru (after Bad Badtz-Maru), and moved to Baltimore, Maryland.[1][3]

Since 2012 as Seaman Guard Virginia she has participated in anti-piracy patrols conducted by maritime private military contractor AdvanFort in the Gulf of Aden. [1]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Seal Class Long Range Recovery and Support Craft". Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c Cocker, Maurice (2006). Coastal Forces Vessels of the Royal Navy from 1865. Stroud: Tempus Publishing. p. 241. ISBN 075243862X. 
  3. ^ Kahney, Leander (November 2, 2002). "All Aboard! (But No PCs Allowed)". Wired Magazine. Retrieved August 23, 2015.