Home North pole ice HMS Protector sails on top of the world

HMS Protector sails on top of the world

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The HMS Protector icebreaker has reached the depths of the Arctic Ocean, sailing closer to the North Pole than most Royal Navy ships have ever done before.

The survey and research vessel crossed polar ice to approach 1,050 km from the world’s northernmost point on an expedition to collect data on the ocean and its environment.

In recent years, only submarines like HMS Trenchant, which cracked through the North Pole ice three years ago, have gone further north into the Greenland Sea.

After its most comprehensive overhaul to date, in January, Protector conducted extensive training and testing for deployment to Antarctica this fall.

The vessel tested its engines using bollard traction in Flekkefjord, southern Norway.

It also broke the ice in the Fram Strait, between Greenland and the Norwegian island chain of Svalbard, the navy said.

Protector has tested its capabilities against different depths and types of ice, with the help of scientists, engineers and advisers, including those from the Department of Defense and the British Antarctic Survey.

The vessel also carried out surveys of the seabed – between 2,000 and 3,000 m deep in the Fram Strait – and collected data on North Atlantic currents, observed marine mammals and assisted the British Antarctic Survey in his work on the study of the polar ice cap.

After visiting Reykjavik, Protector will return to Plymouth after obtaining his “ice credentials” and begin preparing for a return to the South Polar region in the fall.