Royal Navy’s Ice Patrol Ship Begins Historic Deployment in the Antarctic Region

HMS Protector will conduct surveys in remote areas, such as the British territories in the South Atlantic 7 photos
Photo: Royal Navy
HMS Protector
If you’re a curious tourist, you might have to pay quite a lot to go on a dream-trip to the Antarctic, on a luxurious or less luxurious explorer, but the lucky crew members on board the British Royal Navy’s only ice patrol ship will get the chance to do so as part of their job.
The Royal Navy’s icebreaker, HMS Protector, has departed on its journey to the Antarctic on August 10. It’s been a couple of years since the research and patrol vessel has visited the area, due to a complex refit that took most of 2020 to complete.

At the beginning of its deployment, HMS Protector will be headed to Ascension Island and St Helena, two British territories in the South Atlantic, where the climate won’t be that extreme. It seems that water areas around these islands haven’t been surveyed in 200 years. So, it was time for Protector to lead the way in helping to update the famous Admiralty Charts, issued by the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO).

In December, when it will set off on its polar journey to the British Antarctic Territory, the icebreaker will be taking an important step. Visiting both polar circles and crossing the Equator in the same year is an accomplishment that will be remembered in the Royal Navy’s history. As for the Protector’s crew, this will represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the Arctic and Antarctic Circles, in such a short period of time.

A couple of months ago, HMS Protector already broke a record, by making its way to 80°41.5 North in the Greenland Sea, which was closer to the North Pole than any other British military ship has ever gotten. This was a “trial” deployment, where the ice patrol ship practiced crunching ice, and collected research data for scientists at the British Antarctic Survey.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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