The Royal Navy warship HMS Scott has rescued a pair of pair of exhausted racing birds seeking asylum onboard off the Plymouth coast.
While the Devonport-based Navy’s ocean survey ship was training at sea two racing pigeons were discovered perched behind the bridge, the first one discovered by the captain Commander Karen Dalton-Fyfe, and the second by Alex Coathup, one of the ship’s chefs.
The birds had distinctive tags on their legs, which led to them being identified as racing pigeons. After further research they were discovered to be part of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association (RPRA), a union founded in 1896 for people who trained homing pigeons. The association has ongoing ties with the Royal Family.
The crew took a liking to the birds and treated them like VIP’s, placing them in covered laundry baskets where they were out of the sun and provided them plenty of food and water just as the RPRA’s website recommended, for them to relax and regain strength.
By the end of the day, they were reinvigorated members of the crew waved goodbye as the pigeons flew in tandem towards Plymouth sound.
The birds became a pleasant distraction for the members of the HMS Scott, who have spent the past month working long days preparing the ship for deployment after an extended refit period.
HMS Scott is the Royal Navy’s only ocean survey vessel. Designed to commercial standard, she is able to provide the military with a deep bathymetric capability off the continental shelf. The ship is fitted with a modern multi-beam sonar suite which permits mapping of the ocean floor worldwide.
The ship can collect depth information over a strip of the sea bed several kilometres wide (depending on the depth of the water) and allowing HMS Scott to survey 150km2 of ocean floor every hour. All the processing of the data is conducted and checked onboard with the final product rendered to the UK Hydrographic Office in Taunton.
HMS Scott has a crew of about 60 and designed to be operationally available 307 days out of the year, providing environmental information to the Royal Navy and supporting UK defence interests around the world.