Hecla-class survey vessel
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SAS Protea at Cape Town in 2011
|Operators:||Royal Navy South African Navy|
|In commission:||UK: 1966-2001; South Africa: 1972-present|
|Type:||Deep ocean hydrographic survey vessel|
|Displacement:||2,800 tons (originally 2,733 tons)|
|Length:||260 ft (79 m)|
|Beam:||50 ft (15 m)|
|Draught:||16 ft (4.9 m)|
|Speed:||14 knots (26 km/h)|
|Range:||12,000 nautical miles (22,000 km)|
|Boats & landing
|Complement:||Generally a Commander (X)(H) in command (though sometimes a Captain RN), with 12-15 officers and 104-106 ratings, 1 NAAFI canteen manager, 1 laundryman|
|Aircraft carried:||1 × Westland Wasp helicopter from 829 Naval Air Squadron|
|Notes:||1 × Land Rover (with garage, forward)|
The Hecla class formed the backbone of the Royal Navy's ocean survey fleet from the mid-1960s.
The hull design was based on that of the RRS Discovery and the Hecla class were built to commercial standards costing £1.25 million each. They carried two small survey craft, a launch, a Land Rover and a Wasp helicopter, for which there was a flight deck and hangar.
Besides the strengthened hull for work in ice and the provision of air conditioning necessary for work in all climates, they had modifications particular for a scientific vessel: wet and dry laboratories; a survey chartroom and photographic darkroom; oceanographic winches for deep seawater analysis and coring; stabilisers and a bow thruster, which enabled the ship to maintain her position when stopped for scientific observations.
Ships in class
|SAS Protea||A324||Active (2013)|
A fourth ship, HMS Herald was ordered in the early 1970s. Apart from HMS Hecate, they all saw service as hospital ships in the Falklands War, while Herald also served in the Gulf War and as a temporary Antarctic Patrol Ship in 1991 and 1992. Hecate saw service as the temporary Antarctic Patrol Ship in 1982 after being painted grey and fitted with AA guns in Gibraltar. Hecate was the first Royal Navy vessel to visit South America following the Falklands conflict.
Hydra was sold to Indonesia in 1986 and renamed Dewa Kembar; Hecate decommissioned in 1990 and was broken up, while Hecla was paid off in 1997 and sold to an Irish private company, to be replaced by HMS Scott. Herald was finally decommissioned in 2001, and was replaced the same year by HMS Echo.
- "Fact file: Hecla (Protea)-class hydrographic vessel". DefenceWeb.za. Retrieved 2013-12-06.