The UK’s first Multi-Role Ocean Surveillance (MROS) ship RFA Proteus sailed from Birkenhead today following conversion work.
The vessel was purchased for £70 Million from Topaz Marine, a subsidiary of P&O Maritime and arrived at Cammell Laird for conversion to her new role in January. The MoD had promised she would be “operational in Summer 2023” but crew generation and safety certification issues are understood to have delayed her exit from the shipyard until now. After sea trials, Proteus will head to the south coast before she is formally named at a ceremony to be held in London during October.
Proteus will be dedicated to safeguarding critical seabed infrastructure and will act as a ‘mother ship’, operating remote and autonomous off-board systems for underwater surveillance and seabed warfare.
This modern, 6,000-tonne ship was built in 2019 for work in the offshore oil industry supporting construction, maintenance and inspection work and is equipped to operate autonomous submersibles. A ‘moon pool’ – a vertical shaft in the centre of the vessel provides a sheltered way for robot submersibles to be launched or recovered in high sea states. The 98.1 metre-long ship also has a flight deck, a heavy-duty crane and a 1,000 sq metre working deck aft.
Main Image: Phil Owen