17th February 1977

HMS Guernsey launched in Aberdeen

The Royal Navy has had four ships called HMS Guernsey, all named after the island. The one we’re interested in was the last of the bunch, built by Hall, Russell and Company in Aberdeen and launched on 17 February 1977.

That same year, Hall, Russell and Company became part of the British Shipbuilder’s Corporation. It was the company that, in 1955, launched the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior (under the name MV Sir William Hardy).

An Island Class vessel

HMS Guernsey was 59m long and 11m wide, with a draft of 4.3m. She displaced 1,000 tons when empty and had a top speed of 16 knots. That equates to 30km/h or 19mph. Her range, between refuelling, was 12,500 miles, or 20,000km, at 11 knots (20km/h or 12.5mph).

These specs made her an “Island Class” ship. Such vessels patrolled the Atlantic, securing British fishing rights and the country’s natural gas and oil fields. The Royal Navy commissioned them in the wake of the Cod Wars of 1958 to 1976. These were a series of disputes over fishing rights between Iceland and the United Kingdom. Iceland threatened to withdraw from Nato, as a result, which would have hampered the alliance’s effectiveness. It would no longer have been ablt to track submarines between the UK, Iceland and Greenland. The UK, not wanting this to occur, finally backed off. Iceland had won, and claimed extensive exclusive fishing areas.

Nine Island Class ships were built in total, with Jersey and Alderney also having ships named in their honour. The rest of the line-up was Jura, Westra, Anglesey, Shetland, Orkney and Lindisfarne.

HMS Guernsey’s second life

When the Royal Navy no longer had any use for HMS Guernsey, it sold her to Bangladesh, along with HMS Alderney, Jersey and three others. The sale completed on 29 January 2004, and she was renamed BNS Sangu. She went into service under that name on 3 October the same year, with a crew of around 100.

HMS Alderney and HMS Jersey are now called BNS Karatoa and BNS Ruhul Amin.

HMS Guernsey, now BNS Sangu

Other ships called HMS Guernsey

The name HMS Guernsey has been popular within the Royal Navy. It launched ships under that name in 1654, 1696, 1758 and 1977. The first was a 22-gun ship originally launched under the name HMS Basing. The second was a 48-gun ship. The third, a 32-gun ship, launched as Aeolus and was renamed Guernsey in 1800. The fourth is the ship discussed here.

Two other ships would have carried the name HMS Guernsey had they been built, in 1861 and 1944 respectively.

Image credit: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sean Furey


FREE Guernsey history newsletter

Don't miss our weekly update on Guernsey's fascinating history. We promise never to sell your data to anyone else, and there's a super-easy unsubscribe link on the bottom of each email so you can leave whenever you want. We'll also keep you up to date with our latest book releases and early-bird discounts.


Other events that occured in February

Mail ship wrecked on Black Rock 1st
Oil rig stranded at Grandes Rocques
Birth of Generaloberst Friedrich Dollmann 2nd
Death of Sir Charles Hayward 3rd
St Martin’s parish church consecrated 4th
Guernsey suffers its worst storm in 35 years 5th
Guernsey watchmaker helps Stone of Scone manhunt 6th
Guernsey Language Commission formed 7th
Queen Mary executed while wearing Guernsey stockings 8th
Guernsey gets its first postbox
Guernsey Society celebrates its 70th anniversary 9th
Guernsey’s last execution didn’t go according to plan 10th
The last issue of GUNS was distributed 11th
Alderney gets its first full-time radio station 12th
Guernsey’s last duel 13th
Specsavers’ Mary Perkins was born 14th
Blue Islands takes to the skies
Guernsey gets its own flag 15th
Birth of concrete poet Dom Sylvester Houedard 16th
HMS Guernsey launched in Aberdeen 17th
Guernsey’s first Methodist minister arrives 18th
Aurigny Air Services founded 19th
Guernsey Railway Company runs its first services 20th
The Channel Islands were cut off from the outside world 21st
St Sampson was ordained a bishop 22nd
Death of Thomas Fiott de Havilland 23rd
Murder inquiry ends with suicide 24th
Death of occupation resister Marie Ozanne 25th
Guernsey’s first banker dies 26th
Release of Reverend Harry Samuel 27th
Plans for St Sampson power station approved 28th
Second World War bomb detonated 29th