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RV Triton

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RV Triton

RV Triton
RV Triton berthed alongside HMS Belfast in the Pool of London
Career (United Kingdom)
Name: RV Triton
Namesake: Triton
Ordered: August 1998
Builder: VT Group
Acquired: August 2000
Fate: Sold to Gardline Marine Sciences, 2005
Leased to Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, December 2006
Career (Australia) Australian Customs Flag
Name: ACV Triton
Acquired: December 2006
Status: Active as of 2011
General characteristics
Tonnage: 2,236 gt[1]
Length: 318 ft 3 in (97.00 m)
Beam: 73 ft 8 in (22.45 m)
Draught: 10 ft (3.0 m)
Propulsion: Diesel electric propulsion, Single shaft
Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Range: 3,000 nautical miles (5,600 km; 3,500 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Complement: 14 crew and up to 28 Customs Officers (Australian service)
Armament: 2 x .50 calibre heavy machine guns (Australian service)

The Research Vessel Triton is a trimaran vessel owned by Gardline Marine Sciences Limited and a former prototype British warship demonstrator for the UK's Defence Evaluation and Research Agency. She was built as a technology demonstrator ship for the Royal Navy's Future Surface Combatant, and has been used to both prove the viability of the hull-form and as a trials platform for other QinetiQ innovations.[2]

Since 2007 the ship has been used by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service's Customs Marine Unit.

Triton '​ name refers to the maritime god Triton who carried the three-pronged spear, the trident, which relates to the vessel's three parallel hulls. The outriggers are thinner and much shorter than the dominant central hull.

Operational history

DERA and QinetiQ

QinetiQ RV Triton

Triton was designed as a demonstrator to prove that the trimaran concept would work successfully in a large warship. Following her launch in 2000, the ship began an extensive series of trials in 2001, which covered general ship handling, performance, sea-keeping behaviour, but also areas more specific to its design for which the Royal Navy had no experience. For example, a series of docking manoeuvres were undertaken by the pilot boats of HMNB Portsmouth to determine the problems of docking a large trimaran, and the ship underwent underway replenishment alongside HMS Argyll and the tanker RFA Brambleleaf to ascertain the characteristics of a trimaran and a monohull replenishing at the same time. Triton also undertook the first helicopter take off and landing on a trimaran.[2]

Triton was present at the International Festival of the Sea in 2001, but visitors were not permitted on board.

Gardline Marine Sciences

Following the end of the Future Surface Combatant project, it was decided that the Triton was no longer necessary, so in 2005, she was sold to Gardline Marine Sciences Limited which is part of the Gardline group and was converted into a multi-role survey vessel. Amongst other projects she was used as part of the Civil Hydrography Programme on behalf of the United Kingdom's Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Australian Customs

Triton in 2007

In December 2006, Gardline contracted Triton to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service to patrol Australia's northern waters as one of the service's fleet of patrol vessels. Australian Customs Vessel Triton has been fitted with two .50 calibre heavy machine guns and carries up to 28 armed customs officers. The ship arrived from the UK in mid-January 2007 and started operations immediately[3] It is reported that ACV Triton has been modified to provide additional accommodation at the expense of ballast, which has apparently reduced the vessel's inherent stability. High stability is less important in the calmer waters of the South Pacific and Indian Oceans.


  1. ^ "Northern Patrol Vessel ACV Triton Fact Sheet Australian Customs Service" (pdf). 
  2. ^ a b "Triton Trimaran Research Ship, United Kingdom". Retrieved 2008-07-25. 
  3. ^ Three-hulled warship to patrol north coast
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