WITH REGARDS TO THE QUERY from Robert S Hunter in the March 2010 issue of Sea Breezes. The vessel (not really a ship) is the Crystal. She was ordered from Devonport dockyard in December 1969 and launched in March 1971.
She was primarily used as a floating laboratory attached to the Royal Navy’s AUWE (Admiralty Underwater Weapons Establishment) at Portland and, for many years, she was anchored in Portland harbour until this was closed when she was towed to Devonport for lay-up. She was mostly used for sonar calibration and other underwater research. She was 3,040 tonnes displacement and measured 413.5ft x 56ft x 5.5ft. Her complement was 60 including research personnel. Attached is a picture of her at anchor in Portland harbour. I note Mr Hunter’s photo also shows a naval tug in the background which would have been a RMAS (Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service) Roysterer class (Roysterer A361, Rollicker A502 or Robust A366) of ocean going tug.
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