British Royal Navy’s icebreaker HMS Protector is set to undergo a major overhaul at Teesside port.

The Plymouth-based scientific vessel works alongside the British Antarctic Survey to procure information on the Antarctic Ocean, the surrounding region, and its ice and unique wildlife.

Due to harsh weather conditions in the southern ocean, the vessel undergoes maintenance after every expedition.

Every five years, HMS Protector is subjected to deep maintenance and overhaul works to increase its longevity.

Under the latest revamp, the vessel will be equipped to carry unmanned survey devices.

Its 60t crane and flight deck have been removed for major servicing, while its hull will be renovated.

The vessel is also upgraded to adopt the latest operational scientific/survey techniques and autonomous survey methods.

HMS Protector Commanding Officer Captain Michael Wood said: “Protector is a unique ship facing a unique set of challenges.

“This refit marks the start of our long journey back to Antarctica. It will take real determination, and teamwork, to get there. However, I am certain we can make it happen.”

After the upgrade works are complete at Teesside, the ship’s crew will undergo operational sea training before it is deployed later this year in the Southern Hemisphere.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, the aircraft carrier developed for the British Royal Navy, recently completed the first stages of operational sea training.

The training exercise will further advance the plans of aircraft carrier’s maiden operational deployment next year.