The UK Royal Navy’s new ice patrol ship, HMS Protector, has entered Portsmouth Naval Base, UK, for the first time.

The ship has been leased on a three-year contract from a Norwegian company to fulfil HMS Endurance’s role as an interim Antarctic patrol vessel.

The ice-breaker will be officially named HMS Protector on 1 June 2011 and will be commissioned into the Royal Navy fleet on 23 June 2011.

The vessel will be deployed on the navy’s Antarctic task in November 2011 to serve in the region for the 2011-12 Austral summer.

The new ship will initially be equipped with a survey motor boat, two Pacific 22 rigid inflatable boats, three all-terrain vehicles and three quad bikes, complete with trailers.

The navy originally planned to repair HMS Endurance at an estimated cost of £30m, but the decision was changed because Whitehall had stalled on funding.

The ocean survey vessel, HMS Scott, was deployed in place of HMS Endurance, but the vessel neither had an icebreaker function nor the capacity to carry Lynx helicopters.