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HMS Challenger (K07)
Career (UK) Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Name: HMS Challenger
Namesake: HMS Challenger (1858)
Ordered: 9 October 1979[1]
Builder: Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Greenock[2]
Launched: 19 May 1981[2]
Commissioned: 1983[1]
Decommissioned: 1990 (Royal Navy)
Fate: Sold, 1993
Notes: In Royal Navy Service, equipped with a TUMS (Towed Unmanned Submersible), and could carry and deploy LR5 submarine rescue submersible.
Career (Namibia) Flag of Namibia.svg
Name: MV Ya Toivo
Namesake: Andimba Toivo ya Toivo
Operator: NAMCO (2000-2003)
De Beers (2003-)
Acquired: 2000
In service: December 2000
Identification: IMO number: 7907697
Status: in active service, as of 2010
Notes: Fitted out and operated as a Mining Vessel (Seabed Diamond extraction)
General characteristics (as built)
Type: Seabed Operations Vessel[2]
Displacement: 6,500 t (6,397 long tons) standard
7,185 t (7,072 long tons) full[2]
Length: 134.1 m (440 ft 0 in) o/a[2]
Beam: 18 m (59 ft 1 in)[2]
Draught: 5 m (16 ft 5 in)[2]
Propulsion: Diesel-electric
5 × 6,200 shp (4,623 kW) RKC Ruston 16-cylinder diesel engines, coupled to 3.3 kW alternators driving electric motors (main propulsion)
2 × 6RKC diesel engines (auxiliary power)
2 × Voith-Schneider propellers aft
3 × bow thrusters[2][3]
Speed: 15 knots approx.
Complement: 185[1]
Sensors and
processing systems:
Sonar: Plessey Type 193M[1]
Aviation facilities: Helicopter deck (in Namibian service)

HMS Challenger was a unique vessel in Royal Navy service, purpose built to support deep sea operations and saturation diving. Built by Scotts at Greenock, the ship was launched on 19 May 1981, but not commissioned until 1984, during a time when the Royal Navy was cutting back on expenditure. The consequence was that the £80m Challenger was seen as an extravagance that the Admiralty could not afford.[1] As a consequence, after only a few years service, in 1990 the ship was laid up and offered for sale.

In 1993 the ship was purchased by a company called Subsea Offshore, to be converted for work decontaminating hazardous waste dumped in the Baltic Sea and North Atlantic.

The vessel was later bought by the Namibian Minerals Corporation (NAMCO), and fitted with equipment to recover diamonds from the sea floor.[4] The ship was converted at the Nauta Shipyard in Gdynia, Poland,[5] and made its first diamond recoveries in December 2000.[4] The ship was bought by De Beers in April 2003 for US$20 million.[6]


See alsoEdit

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