Ocean boarding vessel

Ocean boarding vessels (OBVs) were merchant ships taken over by the Royal Navy for the purpose of enforcing wartime blockades by intercepting and boarding foreign vessels.


Ship Date launched/ completed Date requisitioned/ commissioned History
HMS Ariguani 1926 Converted to "Catapult Armed Ship". Used for convoy escort
HMS Empire Audacity 29 Mar 1939 11 Nov 1940 Former German ship Hannover captured 7/8 March 1940 and put into British service. Commissioned as Ocean boarding vessel in November 1940 but sent for conversion to escort aircraft carrier in January 1941.
HMS Camito June 1915 26 Sep 1940 Torpedoed and sunk 6 May 1941[1]
HMS Corinthian Rescued survivors of SS Duchess of Atholl Oct 1942[2]

Rescued survivors of RMS Empress of Canada (1922) 14 March 1943.[3]

HMS Crispin 1935 Aug 1940 Sunk 4 Feb 1941 after torpedo attack previous day[4]
HMS Fratton 28 September 1925 August 1940 The cross channel steamer was requisitioned by the Admiralty as a Barrage Balloon Vessel, converted to Ocean Boarding Vessel in 1943. She was sunk off Normandy by a Neger manned torpedo 18 August 1944.[5]
HMS Hilary 17 Apr 1931 21 Jan 1941 Former SS Hilary; restored as a merchantman 15 April 1942; recommissioned as an infantry landing and headquarters ship 1943; returned to civilian service after the war in 1945; scrapped 1959.
SS Inanda 1925 11 August 1940 Bombed and sunk on 7 September 1940. Salvaged and converted to cargo ship Empire Explorer, never saw service as an ocean boarding vessel. Torpedoed and sunk in July 1942.
SS Inkosi 1937 11 August 1940 Bombed and sunk on 7 September 1940. Salvaged and converted to cargo ship Empire Chivalry, never saw service as an ocean boarding vessel. Sold postwar and renamed Planter. Scrapped 1958.
HMS Lady Somers[6] 1929 Requisitioned by Admiralty in 1940. Sunk by Italian submarine Morosini in N Atlantic, 15 July 1941.
HMS Largs 1938 1941 French ship MV Charles Plumier in 1938; seized by Royal Navy; returned to France 1945; sold to a Greek company and renamed MV Pleias 1964; scrapped 1968
HMS Malvernian[6] 1937 abandoned after being bombed, North Atlantic, 19 July 1941
HMS Manistee 1920 1940 sailed with Arctic convoy OB 288 and sunk 24 February 1941, no survivors
HMS Marsdale Participated in locating German supply ships after Bismarck had been sunk
HMS Maplin 1932 Formerly Erin. Converted to Fighter catapult ship 1940.
HMS Patia 1922 converted to Fighter catapult ship in 1940. Sank after attacked by German aircraft 1941
HMS Registan[7] 1930 13 Sep 1940 Bombed off Cape Cornwall 27 May 1941; repaired and returned to merchant use Nov 1941; sunk 29 Sep 1942[8]

See also

  • Armed boarding steamer - British vessels of similar purpose in First World War
  • Hired armed vessels - British vessels that performed convoy escort duties, anti-privateer patrols, and ran errands during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars, and earlier.


  1. Helgason, Guðmundur (1995–2010). "HMS Camito (F 77)". uboat.net. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
  2. Helgason, Guðmundur (1995–2010). "Inversuir". uboat.net. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
  3. Moraes, Ozires (2011). "HMS Corinthian". sixtant.net. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  4. Helgason, Guðmundur (1995–2010). "HMS Crispin". uboat.net. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
  5. "Barrage Balloon Vessels". bbrclub.org. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  6. Mason, Geoff. "Royal Navy Vessels Lost at Sea, Atlantic & Arctic 1939-45". Retrieved 16 July 2010.
  7. Stephenson-Knight, Marilyn (October 2006). "World War II - Page, C. P." THE DOVER WAR MEMORIAL PROJECT. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
  8. Helgason, Guðmundur (1995–2010). "Registan". uboat.net. Retrieved 30 January 2010.


  • Cocker, M Aircraft-carrying ships of the Royal Navy, The History Press 2008 ISBN 978-0-7524-4633-2
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