UK: HMS Protector to Sail into Ipswich Today

HMS Protector to Sail into Ipswich Today

The Royal Navy’s 5000 tonne Antarctic patrol vessel will sail into Ipswich today for the start of a four-day visit. Berthed at Ipswich Docks from approximately 6pm, HMS Protector has a packed weekend in store both in Ipswich and with her affiliated city of Cambridge. She will remain in port until Wednesday morning (August 15).

Perhaps the highlight of the visit, however, is that this 90 metre ship will open to the public Saturday from 10am to 4pm.

Access is free, but is restricted and by ticket only – a bus will be used to transport visitors from University Campus Suffolk’s union bar Kai to the ship in the docks. The transport will run on the hour and  the half hour from Kai and tickets will be for allotted time slots – the first slot is at 10am, the last at 3.30pm.

Visitors will be able to tour the ship and learn more about HMS Protector and her work in the Antarctic. They will also be able to find out more about the British Antarctic Survey, which works very closely with the Royal Navy in this remote and hostile region, which will have a display stand on the quayside beside the ship.

And on Saturday evening, the Commanding Officer, Captain Peter Sparkes, will hold a small reception and capability demonstration for invited guests.

On both Sunday and Monday, members of the ship’s company will take the opportunity to get involved with their affiliated charity East Anglian Children’s Hospices (EACH).

Sunday’s visit will be to the charity’s hospice in Ipswich and is a chance for crew members to meet the staff and youngsters, before a similar visit is made to EACH’s Milton hospice in Cambridge, when the presentation of a cheque will be made.

The money was raised by crew members during the recent deployment and will be shared among EACH’s projects.

Also on Monday, the crew will continue their visits in Cambridge at the headquarters of the British Antarctic Survey.

It is both a real pleasure and a genuine privilege to be able to bring HMS Protector to Ipswich, a port renowned for its warm welcome for visiting RN ships,” said Captain Sparkes. “The visit will also present an excellent opportunity for us to build on the strong ties that we have with our nearby affiliated city of Cambridge.

We are very much looking forward to welcoming on board both the people of Ipswich, and our many affiliates, over the course of our stay ” 

The Mayor of Ipswich, Councillor Mary Blake, said: “We are looking forward to the arrival of HMS Protector to our town, which has long and deeply felt links with the Royal Navy.

“We are sure she and her captain and crew will be warmly welcomed. Furthermore, this visit heralds the start of our magnificent Maritime Festival a week or so later so I am sure it will whet the appetite of residents and visitors alike.”

HMS Protector is one the newest additions to the Fleet, an impressive and incredibly versatile survey and ice patrol ship which has just returned from her first deployment.

The ship’s photographer recently won the Royal Navy’s prestigious photographic competition for the Peregrine Trophy with some breathtaking images captured in Antarctica whilst on operations.

Protector began life as the MV Polarbjørn (Polar Bear), a Norwegian icebreaker and polar research vessel which has shown her flexibility by also acting as a support vessel for an oil platform in the Caribbean. Now she’s a fully fledged Royal Navy ship, bristling with the latest in survey technology and other high-tech specialist equipment, as well as a flight deck.

Naval Today Staff, August 10, 2012; Image: Royal Navy