Page last updated at 17:52 GMT, Wednesday, 8 April 2009 18:52 UK

Damaged Endurance set for repairs

HMS Endurance on the back of MV Target
HMS Endurance will be towed into port on Saturday (pic Leonard Adams)

The flood-damaged Royal Navy ice patrol ship HMS Endurance has arrived off the coast of Portsmouth after being transported home from the Falklands.

Ten passengers were rescued when HMS Endurance lost power as the engine room flooded off Chile in December.

Fears had been raised the ship could be scrapped after she was towed to the Falkland Islands but the navy decided to pay for her repair.

It is thought the bill could run into millions of pounds.

The vessel will be floated off the back of the transporter ship MV Target over the next few days.

It is then expected to be towed into Portsmouth Harbour on Saturday - completing the month-long trip back from the South Atlantic.

It's not going to be quick and it will take months rather than weeks
Captain Gavin Pritchard

The ship's mission is to patrol and survey the Antarctic and South Atlantic, where it spends seven months of the year.

The flooding, in HMS Endurance's engine room, left it without main power and propulsion.

Ten passengers from the British Schools Exploring Society were taken off by a Chilean Navy helicopter as a precaution.

Commanding officer Captain Gavin Pritchard said: "The ship suffered a very serious flood.

"It wasn't at any stage in any serious danger of sinking, but there was a lengthy period of damage control where the crew were working in very unpleasant conditions with no power or propulsion.

"It is the navy's intention to undertake repairs. The ship was programmed for an extensive refit at this time anyway.

"This will now include additional work to repair the flood damage and restore the ship to full capacity and take her back to the Antarctic.

"It's not going to be quick and it will take months rather than weeks."


The Endurance boat is carried by sea back to Portsmouth

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