UK: HMS Protector Cancels Visit

HMS Protector Cancels Visit

The Royal Navy’s HMS Protector, which had been due in the port of Ipswich from July 19-24, has been forced to pull out of her visit for operational reasons.

The 90-metre Antarctic patrol vessel visited the Suffolk port last year and is affiliated to the City of Cambridge, home of the British Antarctic Survey.

Although the affiliation only came into being a year ago, the ship and Cambridge have already established excellent links and the five-day visit had been much anticipated by the ship’s company.

“I know that I speak for the entire Ship’s Company when I say how disappointed we are,”

said Captain Rhett Hatcher, Commanding Officer of HMS Protector.

“Last year’s welcome for the ship in both Ipswich and Cambridge was remarkable – we were very honoured to be taken so much to the heart of the area despite having only just established the official affiliation links.”

MS Protector returned from a nine-month deployment to Antarctica on May 10 this year, where she provided direct support to a UK-led multi-national Antarctic Treaty Inspection team; landed and recovered British Antarctic Survey (BAS) scientists at ecologically important sites; assisted with ongoing environmental and conservation work including hosting an international team updating the visitor guidelines for regularly visited sites and surveyed the poorly charted waters around the Antarctic Peninsula.

Her multi-beam echo sounder and Survey Motor Boat also provided hi-tech hydrographic charting and imagery used to improve the navigational awareness and safety of other ships and mariners operating in the area.

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.

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Press Release, July 19, 2013; Image: Royal Navy