HNLMS Mercuur (A856)
Dutch ocean going minesweeper/headquarters support ship Hr. Ms. Onverschrokken (1952-1973) and torpedo work ship Mercuur (A856) 1973-1987
Dokhaven, Houtkade, Vlissingen, Netherlands 10 September 2017
Laid down at the shipyard of the Peterson Builders Incorporation, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, USA on 19 February 1952, launched on 17 January 1953 and commissioned on 22 July 1953 as Hr. Ms. Onverschrokken (M886). She and her sister ships were built in the USA and handed over to the Netherlands according to the Mutual Defense Assistance Program. Since 1 January 1969 classified as headquarters-support ship for minesweepers squadrons.
Since 1970 she was no longer used as a minesweeper and rebuilt in 1972 as a torpedo work ship and renamed Mercuur on 11 May 1973. All torpedo work ships serving in the Royal Netherlands Navy since the 1880’s have been named Mercuur. She assisted at torpedo launching tests executed by submarines by afterwards picking up the torpedoes and preparing them for the next test launching. Furthermore she served as target during torpedo tests. In 1987 replaced by the Mercuur (A900) built by Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding. Temporarily handed over to the Stichting Nautisch Kwartier Amsterdam, however given back to the Royal Netherlands Navy after some time. Then handed over to the Stichting Behoud Maritieme Monumenten and became a museum ship since 1992 at Scheveningen, Netherlands until December 2015 when she was towed back to Den Helder, Netherlands after she was given back to the Royal Netherlands Navy on 15 December. Her final fate was to be broken up there.
The Stichting Maritiem Erfgoed Vlissingen succeeded in 2016 to persuade the Royal Netherlands Navy to save her for the time necessary to develop a business-plan as museum ship. On Saturday 16 December 2016 she arrived partially stripped in Vlissingen-Oost. There the asbestos was removed and maintenance and conversion into a museum ship was started. On 17th August 2017 she was docked at Vlissingen-Oost, Netherlands with the intention to be undocked on the 25th and the same day to be towed towards Vlissingen where she temporarily will be berthed in the Dokhaven waiting for her final berth in the 17th Century dry dock Dok van Perry. On 1 September 2017 she will be officially handed over by the Royal Netherlands Navy to the foundation Stichting Maritiem Erfgoed Vlissingen which maintain her as a museum ship.
Displacement 790 tons and as dimensions 55,00 x 10,70 x 3,70 metres. Original diesel motors supplying 1.600 hp allowing via 2 screws a speed of 15,5 knots. Her crew numbered 67 men. The armament consisted of 1 40mm Bofors.