Home North pole ice sails further north than any other Royal Navy ship – MercoPress

sails further north than any other Royal Navy ship – MercoPress


HMS Protector makes history: sails further north than any other Royal Navy ship

Saturday, June 26, 2021 – 09:40 UTC

The ship tested itself against different depths and types of ice, assisted by scientists

The HMS Protector icebreaker sailed closer to the North Pole than any other Royal Navy ship in history on its first patrol in the Arctic. The research and research vessel made its way through polar ice to 1,050 kilometers from the top of the world as it gathered data on the ocean and the environment.

Only submarines – like HMS Trenchant which broke through the ice at the Pole in 2018 – can travel further north than the position reached by the Plymouth-based sounding vessel: 80 ° 41.5 north in the Greenland Sea.

Protector completed the most comprehensive overhaul of her ten-year career in the Royal Navy in January, since then she has conducted extensive testing and training – all with the intention of deploying to Antarctica in the fall.

Having been nowhere near the ice for more than two years, the ship tested the strength of its motors using specialized bollard traction in Flekkefjord, southern Norway, and then started in earnest. breaking the ice in the Fram Strait, between Greenland and the Norwegian island chain of Svalbard. .

The ship tested itself against various depths and types of ice, assisted by scientists, engineers and advisers, including from the Department of Defense and the British Antarctic Survey.

The ship was also aided by two Royal Navy officers who sailed the Arctic from Alaska aboard the US Coast Guard Polar Star during the winter, and Lt. Lauren Kowalski, an icebreaker expert, also from the US Coast Guard.

“This team has ventured far into one of the most amazing regions on the planet,” said Protector’s commander, Captain Michael Wood. “The chance to familiarize ourselves with this harsh environment has been fantastic and reaffirms the UK’s ability to operate in the Arctic.”

Sergeant Chris Carlisle, the ship’s Royal Marines mountain chief, conducted daily patrols on the ice floe inhabited by polar bears to set up the test fields and collect ice samples.

“The team has adapted well to the Arctic,” he said. “In a week of sailing from Devonport the temperatures and conditions have changed immeasurably. Everyone on board has proven that they can do their jobs safely in the most extreme environments. “

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

Protector concludes his mission in the High North arriving in Reykjavik today to mark Iceland’s recent accession to the United Kingdom-led Joint Expeditionary Force, from nine security-minded northern European countries global.

She will then return to Plymouth after obtaining her “ice credentials” and begin preparing for the return to the South Polar region in the fall, a mission which Captain Wood says has added significance this year.

He continued: “We are ready to return to Antarctica. As the UK hosts COP 26, our commitment to preserving and understanding this pristine continent and the impact of climate change on it is more important than ever.