Icebreaker HMS Protector has left the UK bound for the Antarctic.
A major refit confined her to Middlesbrough for much of 2020.
According to a Royal Navy news release:
“She ‘warmed up’ for work in sub-zero temperatures by sailing into the Arctic in June to practise crunching ice, venturing further north than any Royal Navy vessel within recent memory – just 1,050 kilometres from the top of the world. On this deployment, however, her work initially will be concentrated in the warmer climes of two of Britain’s South Atlantic territories: Ascension Island – In the middle of the ocean between Brazil and Angola – and, 800 miles to the southeast, St Helena.
Some of the stretches of water around the remote islands have not been surveyed in 200 years, so Admiralty Charts – used not just by the Royal Navy, but seafarers the world over – need updating courtesy of the latest sonar and surveying equipment Protector carries.
The ship will begin her polar work in December at the height of the austral summer – temperatures can creep just above freezing – visiting UK and international research stations peppered around the British Antarctic Territory, and extensively surveying the seabed here.”
Commanding Officer Captain Michael Wood said his ship’s return to Antarctica “highlights the Navy and nation’s determination to contribute to climate science and limit climate change. I am proud of the very hard yards this team made to reset the ice patrol ship. It’s time now for new adventures at the other end of the world.”