The icebreakers – operated by the Royal Navy and the British Antarctic Survey – met up as each undergoes preparations before heading for the Antarctic.
According to the Royal Navy here, Protector has just emerged from the most extensive overhaul in her decade’s service with the Royal Navy. Additionally, the Royal Research Ship (RRS) Sir David Attenborough (which the public famously wanted to call Boaty McBoatface in a national poll to pick her name) is undergoing extensive sea trials around the UK before she debuts in the Southern Hemisphere in time for the austral summer at the end of 2021.
“Despite heavy February showers and less-than-clement conditions, the two distinctive icebreakers – both feature striking red, white and gold paint schemes – manoeuvred in close proximity, allowing them to work together for the first time – and for the ship’s companies to take a close look at the respective ships.
Both ships are expected to work together extensively in Antarctic waters. Protector maps the ocean to update Admiralty Charts for fellow seagoers, delivers supplies to remote BAS bases and supports international research, chiefly around the Antarctic Peninsula.
RRS Sir David Attenborough carries 60 scientists in addition to 30 crew and performs many of similar roles, including logistics support. She also carries numerous autonomous craft to gather data from Antarctic waters, including one named Boaty McBoatface.”
The Royal Navy also say that after spending the summer around the UK, Protector is earmarked to deploy to Antarctica in the autumn, ready to work through the austral summer.