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17 September 2012, 06:39
The Royal Navy's ice patrol ship, HMS Protector, will leave Portsmouth today (17/09) for an eight-month deployment surveying and patrolling the frozen continent of Antarctica.
Since arriving home from her maiden deployment in June this year the ship has had a busy few months of maintenance and opened her doors to visitors in Ipswich and her affiliated city of Cambridge.
On her way south the 5,000-tonne ice-breaker will visit St Helena to conduct surveys of the harbour in preparation for the building of a new jetty.
HMS Protector will arrive in Antarctica for the austral summer and will conduct four periods in the ice. During this time she will utilise her multi beam echo sounder and deploy her survey motor boat to ensure the UK provides cutting-edge, hydrographic imagery of the Antarctic region. Around 80% of the world's charts are provided by the Royal Navy's hydrographic department. The ship will also assist with the re-supply of British Antarctic Survey stations in the region.
Protector's Commanding Officer, Captain Peter Sparkes, said: "Building upon the success - and the lessons identified - from HMS Protector's inaugural deployment to Antarctica, the ship and her company are ready in all respects to face again the challenges of the southern ocean. HMS Protector exemplifies the Royal Navy's global reach and the UK government's commitment to British interests in the South Atlantic."