Antarctic patrol vessel HMS Protector has completed her brief survey mission in the unusually temperate climate of the British Indian Ocean Territory.
The vessel was supporting the UK Hydrographic Office to ensure admiralty charts are up to date for the safety of allied shipping in the waters around Diego Garcia.
Over the course of the fortnight the ship has used its specialist hydrographic vessels and sensors to accurately chart a large section of the main harbour of the archipelago north west of the airport. This should ensure safe passage for vessels making their final approaches to the island’s main wharf facilities. The islands serve as a strategic base for the region and regularly host visiting warships as well as several prepositioned American auxiliaries.
While in the territory the ship’s crew also took the opportunity to do their bit for the local environment, undertaking clean up tasks on several beaches that had been impacted by ocean waste. Their downtime was not all as successful however. The ship’s football team forfeiting a two-goal lead to lose to the locals 5-2 in a friendly football match.
HMS Protector will remain forward deployed in the Southern Hemisphere until 2020 as part of her five-year commitment. Her deployment has so far seen her operate in the South Atlantic, Southern, Indian and Pacific Oceans. She is currently spending the Antarctic winter catching up on maintenance and fulfilling support taskings such as these before returning south to represent British interests in Antarctica with the start of the spring season.