Page last updated at 12:51 GMT, Friday, 16 January 2009

Damaged Endurance to be repaired

HMS Endurance (copyright: Royal Navy)
HMS Endurance should be on patrol in the Antarctic and South Atlantic

A Royal Navy ship which lost power when the engine room flooded will be towed back to the UK for repairs.

Ten people had to be rescued when the ship was left without main power and propulsion off Chile last month.

Fears have been raised the ship could be scrapped with industry insiders estimating towing costs running into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

But on Friday, the Royal Navy said HMS Endurance will be brought to its base in Portsmouth and returned to service.

The spokeswoman could not give a timescale when the ice-breaker would be restart operations.

But she said HMS Endurance, which was towed to the Falkland Islands where engineers carried out inspections, will return by heavy lift ship or barge.

Earlier this week, Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock raised fears the ship could be scrapped.

He put a number of questions to the government over the future of the ship, including if it was going to return home and return to operations.

He said the ship is "vital" in its role to patrol and survey the Antarctic and South Atlantic, where it spends seven months of the year.



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