Royal Navy’s new ice-breaker deploys to Antarctica

The Roy­al Navy’s new ice patrol ship, HMS Pro­tec­tor, left Portsmouth yes­ter­day for a sev­en-month deploy­ment sur­vey­ing and patrolling the frozen con­ti­nent of Antarc­ti­ca.

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An aer­i­al view of the Roy­al Navy’s new ice patrol ship, HMS Pro­tec­tor [Pic­ture: LA(Phot) Arron Hoare, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

he 5,000-tonne ice-break­ing ship com­plet­ed an inten­sive peri­od of sea tri­als and train­ing pri­or to deploy­ing to the Antarc­tic Penin­su­la.

HMS Pro­tec­tor will arrive in Antarc­ti­ca for the aus­tral sum­mer and will con­duct three work peri­ods in the ice.

She will use her multi­beam echo sounder and deploy her sur­vey motor boat to pro­vide cut­ting-edge hydro­graph­ic chart­ing and imagery of the Antarc­tic region for the UK Hydro­graph­ic Office which pro­vides 80 per cent of the world’s nau­ti­cal charts.

The ship will also assist with the resup­ply of British Antarc­tic Sur­vey sta­tions in the region.

HMS Pro­tec­tor is being leased as an inter­im replace­ment for HMS Endurance which suf­fered flood dam­age when she was oper­at­ing in the South Atlantic in 2008.

Pro­tec­tor was com­mis­sioned into the Roy­al Navy in June on the 50th anniver­sary of the imple­men­ta­tion of the Antarc­tic Treaty and the cen­te­nary year of Scott’s expe­di­tion to the South Pole.

“We are now oper­a­tional­ly ready to deploy to the South Atlantic. My ship’s com­pa­ny have worked tire­less­ly in recent months to regen­er­ate the Roy­al Navy’s ice patrol ship capa­bil­i­ty. Work­ing dogged­ly as a team we have achieved all that has been asked of us and to a very demand­ing time­line.”
Cap­tain Peter Sparkes

Cap­tain Peter Sparkes, Com­mand­ing Offi­cer of HMS Pro­tec­tor, said:

“We are now oper­a­tional­ly ready to deploy to the South Atlantic. My ship’s com­pa­ny have worked tire­less­ly in recent months to regen­er­ate the Roy­al Navy’s ice patrol ship capa­bil­i­ty.

“Work­ing dogged­ly as a team we have achieved all that has been asked of us and to a very demand­ing time­line. I could not be more proud of the men and women under my com­mand.

“We are now ready in all respects to face the rigours of sev­en months in the extreme­ly hos­tile envi­ron­ment of Antarc­ti­ca.”

Pri­or to deploy­ment the ship’s upgrade pack­age includ­ed the removal and repo­si­tion­ing of the flight deck from the bridge roof to the stern, the instal­la­tion of a multi­beam echo sounder sur­vey sys­tem, a com­plete over­haul of the main engines and gear­box­es, the fit­ment of a com­pre­hen­sive com­mu­ni­ca­tions and nav­i­ga­tion suite, and the addi­tion of naval mark­ings.

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK

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