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30 | telegraph | | March 2012 ships of the past

OFFWATCH by Trevor Boult FThe Anita Dan was built in Denmark in 1956. Although

not an icebreaker, she was robustly constructed for year- round commercial trading in the Baltic and in 1968 she was transformed into the Royal Navy’s ice patrol ship, HMS Endurance. She was named after the

Antarctic expedition ship of Earnest Shackleton which, in 1916, was crushed by sea ice in the Weddell Sea. Affectionately referred to as the Red Plum, Endurance guarded British interests in the far south. An important diplomatic tool, she visited Antarctic bases of other nations. Further key roles included hydrographic surveying, supporting scientific programmes for the British Antarctic Survey and other institutes, and supplying goods for the residents of the Falkland Islands. The sovereignty of these

islands had been contended by Argentina which had long- anticipated a solution. Lack of progress gave the opportunity for the military junta to consider mounting an armed takeover to divert national attention from a disastrous economy. The presence of Endurance

was a powerful symbol of Britain’s continuing commitment. Her sophisticated radio monitoring equipment gathered the early-warning intelligence of Argentina’s covert intent — intelligence ignored by Whitehall which, in 1981, had listed the ship for disposal as part of swingeing defence cuts. The announcement was

followed by a vigorous campaign to keep the ship. But to the Argentinians, the proposed withdrawal of Endurance signalled the expectation of a transfer of sovereignty. What, then, would there be to forestall Argentina taking military action

included frigates and corvettes, as well as a submarine which had been ordered to sink Endurance — which embarked on what has been described as one of the strangest hide and seek games in military history, along the coastal fringes of South Georgia. The hostile submarine herself fell prey to Endurance, the missile-carrying helicopters adding to the score of damage by other units which rendered this direst of threats a spent force. The ship’s contingent of landed Marines also inflicted damage to a corvette. Endurance had become part

Falklands role for patrol ship

if its ambition was not satisfied by negotiation? The proposed occasional and costly deployment of a frigate, which could not operate in ice, was not a solution — neither was it a role for the two specialist civilian vessels of the British Antarctic Survey. By mid-1981 the increased

volume of Argentinian sabre- rattling included plans to land Marines on South Georgia, under cover of a contract with Salvessens for scrap metal operations at a whaling station. The actual landing, in March 1982, became national news. Suddenly Endurance was in the spotlight and the government was shocked into extending the duration of her now-valued presence in the

region. Endurance was to be the longest serving member of Task Force 317 — first in and last out of the Falklands conflict. As a guard ship, Endurance

was always capable of making an armed response. She carried a detachment of Royal Marines and two Wasp helicopters. What had been kept secret was her ability to deploy air-to-surface missiles — a liberal but pivotal interpretation of the prohibiting rules of the Antarctic Treaty. Endurance monitored flights by the Argentine military aircraft, operated the helicopters constantly on reconnaissance missions, observed the enemy’s naval preparations and relayed information to the Ministry of Defence.

of a forward group of vessels deployed to recapture South Georgia. Having missed her planned port call in Uruguay for victualling, strict rationing was in force.

After the two Argentine

garrisons had been re-taken, the formal surrender took place aboard Endurance. She was then left as the sole seaborne custodian of the island, as military focus shifted elsewhere. Responsible for defending merchant shipping which congregated at South Georgia as part of the build-up to the assault on the Falklands, Endurance also coordinated the logistical transfer of resources between the major vessels arriving from Britain. After the Falklands were regained, Endurance accepted the surrender of the final Argentinian garrison, on remote South Thule, before being tasked to deal with the remains of the still-armed Argentine submarine.

In October 1982 Endurance

was awarded the Wilkinson Sword of Peace, for her long-term record of advancing international goodwill — a recognition of the ship’s true worth over many years in the South Atlantic.

The gathering Argentine force 50 YEARS AGO

We have been informed that the government is planning to increase the charges for a number of services provided by the Ministry of Transport for the shipping industry. The proposed increases are staggering — for master’s or first class certificates the fee would rise from £4 to £10, whilst the fee for a second class certificate would increase from £2 to £6. Vigorous protests have been made by the seafarers’ and shipowners’ organisations. The MNAOA has argued that these certificates are statutorily required in the interest of safety of life at sea and the government should not be thinking of increasing charges at the present time when there is an acute shortage of certificated officers in both departments. In fact, the government should be thinking of inducements to encourage seafarers to obtain certificates MN Journal, March 1962


The UK government has decided to increase lights dues by just under 14% next month. NUMAST has warned that the proposals will intensify the difference between UK and European costs for shipping and could lead to the creation of ‘ports of convenience’. The British Ports Association said the increase could add £140,000 to the bill for one major shipowner calling at Felixstowe, while at ship calling at Europoort in the Netherlands would pay no charge for lighthouse services. And a comparison of the costs of the UK and continental European ports conducted by UK shippers showed that ports in the UK can be as much as 60% more expensive to use because of the investment and maintenance subsidies enjoyed by many EU ports The Telegraph, March 1987


European Union member states have been urged to do more to avert the growing threat of a maritime skills crisis. The influential European economic and social committee has backed proposals for regenerating the training and recruitment of EU seafarers and called for ‘appropriate action to boost the social prestige and job satisfaction of the seafaring professions’. Its report warns that more than 60% of existing EU officers are aged over 40 and that the current estimated 13,000 shortage of EU officers could rise to 36,000 by 2006. The committee also expressed concern about the effects of the growing use of low-cost non-European crews in the ferry sector and proposed a detailed study to ‘understand the competitive forces at play and the impact of different social costs’ The Telegraph, March 2002


1 What percentage of the world merchant fleet is registered in European Union member states?

2 How many 14,000TEU-plus containerships are presently on order around the world?

3 In 1994 the NYK Altair was the world’s largest containership. What was its TEU capacity?

4 Which was the world’s busiest shipbuilder last year?

5 What was the name of the tanker involved in the biggest ship-related oil spill, in 1979?

6 In 1952 the passenger ship United States broke the record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic — what was the vessel’s average speed from New York to Bishop’s Rock, Cornwall?

J Answers to the quiz are on page 46.

Telegraph prize crossword

The winner of this month’s cryptic crossword competition will win a copy of the book Oriental Endeavour (reviewed on the facing page). To enter, simply complete the form right and send it, along with your completed crossword, to: Nautilus International, Telegraph Crossword Competition, 1&2 The Shrubberies, George Lane,

South Woodford, London E18 1BD, or fax +44 (0)20 8530 1015. You can also enter by email, by sending your list of answers and your contact details to:

Closing date is Wednesday 14 March 2012.


8. Royal residence (8) 9. Alternatives (6) 10. Wind instrument (4) 11. Bribe (10) 12. Small stone (6) 14. Injustice (8) 15. Small flow (7) 17. Trill (7) 20. Vest (8) 22. Cover (6) 23. Circus manager (10) 24. Verdant (4) 25. (See 13 down) 26. News stories (8)


1. Destroyer (8) 2. So be it (4) 3. Pitch (6) 4. Pacify (7) 5. Insect repellent (8) 6. University figurehead (10) 7. Preacher (6)

13. & 25. across Royal Residence (10,6)

16. Warm-up delivery (8) 18. Sticker (8) 19. Flat humour (7) 21. Not vegetable or mineral (6) 22. Collateral (6) 24. Fortune (4)

15. And I say to you, people of number sixty five Humboldt Avenue (7)

17. Heather is after fluid for printer, just a hunch (7)

20. Growth in criminal band with jungle leader (8)

22. Bug trendy cult (6) 23. Miranda’s father and transatlantic federation are wealthy (10)


8. Plentiful DNA, then ours got mixed up (8)

9. Marked emphasis on pronunciation (6)

10. Lean record for Lloyd’s (4) 11. As it turns out one-tail tux is a triumph (10)

12. Not such a noticeable insult (6)

14. Sounds like mayor Giuliani intended it as first principle (8)

24. Powder found in earliest alchemy (4)

25. Hebridean isle and in French a fish (6)

26. Artificial geological specimen is a national emblem (8)


1. A dish may be so Infernally hot (8)

2. Leadership contestant across (or in) the pond (4)

3. Not against small badger’s dwelling twisting through the woods (6)

4. River mouth resort say, true (7) 5. Degrees given Oxbridge academic for piecing together extinct creature (8)

6. ‘We think na on the lang --- ---’ (Burns, Tam O’ Shanter, 5,5)

7. Nor bun manoeuvred out of the oven yet (6)

13. Where they sell out of boots when it’s raining (6,4)

16. It may make toes tilt awkwardly (8)

18. Adornment to fasten onto part of bottle (8)

19. Sanction replacement of red ones (7)

21. Architectural depiction of a victory without the philosophy (6)

22. Developmental stage of 22. across or reconditioned trains (6)

24. Go for a short performance (4)

J Crossword answers are on page 46.

Name: Address:


Membership No.:

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