The UK Royal Navy has formally commissioned its new ice patrol ship, HMS Protector, into the fleet on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty.

The 5,000t ship, leased from Norwegian company GC Rieber Shipping for three years, will replace HMS Endurance’s role as an interim Antarctic patrol vessel.

The vessel will support the hydrographic and oceanographic work and will help enforce the treaty to ensure the Antarctic environment is fully protected from exploitation.

HMS Protector will undergo further sea trials over the next few months before being deployed on the Antarctic task in November for seven months.