HMS Protector has returned to Portsmouth after her maiden deployment to the Antarctic. During seven months away the Royal Navy ice patrol ship conducted survey work for the UK Hydrographic Office, which provides 80% of the world’s nautical charts, and assisted with the re-supply of British Antarctic Survey stations in the region.
Data gleaned about the tide, shoreline and water along the previously inaccessible northern coast of Elephant Island will allow accurate depths to be plotted on updated charts – particularly important as the area is an increasingly popular destination for expedition cruise ships. HMS Protector is currently operated on a three-year lease as cover for the badly damaged HMS Endurance. The case for a permanent replacement , to be built at Portsmouth in between work on the aircraft carriers and Type 26 projects, is being mooted.