This article is by dr. Ron van Maanen; Picture and drawings by him and his son Alexander. Please visit their interesting blog!
Dutch ocean going minesweeper Hr. Ms. Onverschrokken (1952-1970) and torpedo work ship Mercuur (A856) 1970-1987
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 was she no longer used as a minesweeper and was in 1972 rebuilt as a torpedo work ship and at the same time renamed Mercuur. All torpedo works ships serving in the Royal Netherlands Navy since the 1880’s are named Mercuur. She assisted at torpedo launching tests executed by submarines by afterwards picking up the torpedo and taken at board preparing for the next test launching. Further more served she 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 arrived the partly stripped in Vlissingen-Oost. There is the asbestos to be removed and started with the maintenance and conversion again into a museum ship. In the second half of 2017 is the intention to tow her to the town of Vlissingen where she will be berthed in a 17th Century dated dry dock.
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 1-4cm machinegun.
The intention is to open her as a museum ship after August 2017 in Vlissingen.