Royal Navy’s HMS Protector ready for deployment
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Royal Navy’s HMS Protector ready for deployment

15 Jun 2021 (Last Updated June 15th, 2021 16:34)

The Devonport-based ice patrol ship returned to sea in January following an intensive revamp.

Royal Navy’s HMS Protector ready for deployment
HMS Protector. Credit: Royal Navy.

The Royal Navy has announced that its ice patrol ship, HMS Protector, is ready for polar mission deployment following the completion of a five-week operational sea training.

The scientific and survey ship returned to sea in January following an intensive overhauling programme.

Since then, HMS Protector has been conducting tests of its new and refurbished systems. Alongside, the sailors and Royal Marines are also working to strengthen their bonding to live in the harshest environments together.

The latest five-week training involved the testing of the vessel’s vital communications equipment, engines and generators, and the new permanent storage facility.

Training culminated with a complex salvage, disaster relief and collision and grounding exercise to prepare the vessel for rescue missions.

HMS Protector chief petty officer Karl O’Rourke said: “There are no emergency services when you are at sea, we have to train to deal with those emergencies ourselves.

“Everyone on board plays their part, from searching compartments for leaks to keeping record of the incident, delivering first aid and fire-fighting.

“Competent damage control and fire-fighting ability is the litmus test by which the ability of Protector’s ship’s company to operate safely at sea is measured.”

Other works during the training involved testing the ship’s capabilities to fend off attacks from fast craft, safe sea boat operations, and providing first aid.

HMS Protector has not been in the ice and snowy/sub-zero conditions since the beginning of 2019. The Devonport-based ship will head towards Norway to re-learn the capabilities of operating in such environments.

Subsequently, the ice patrol ship will sail south for the austral summer towards the end of the year.