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June 2011’s Mystery Ship Answer

The ship is Defender, registered in Lowestoft and shown in the river Blackwater at Heybridge close to the sea lock gates of the Chelmer & Blackwater Canal. She has been berthed there since 2007 and has been under maintenance/conversion into a ‘pleasure craft’. Earlier this year she was moved to Maldon’s Fullbridge quay, presumably awaiting further restoration.

She was originally ordered for the Sultanate of Oman’s Navy in April 1974 from Brooke Marine at Lowestoft. Termed as a Fast Attack Craft, she was commissioned on 20 July 1977. Her pennant number was B6 and she was named Al Majihad. She was based at Muscat or Sur and operated in the Gulf of Oman.

In 2001 she was retired and gifted back to Lowestoft in recognition of the part the town played in the building of the Sultan of Oman’s navy during the 1970s, and renamed Defender. In 2003 a full Marine Survey was undertaken which came to the conclusion that the work required was not economical. In 2007 the boat was given to Maldon Sea Cadet’s Unit but the plan for her to become their HQ never happened and she was sold.Mid-Essex Branch WSS, via David Brown

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