JUST three months after she came home from Antarctica, HMS Protector is heading back out to the frozen continent.
The Royal Navy’s ice patrol ship will leave Portsmouth Naval Base on Monday, passing the Round Tower at around 4pm.
The ship has had a busy few months of maintenance since arriving home from her first seven-month deployment in June.
On her way south, the 5,000-tonne ice-breaker will visit the tiny British island of St Helena to conduct surveys of the harbour ahead of building a new jetty.
Arriving in Antarctica for the austral summer, Protector’s sailors will use the ship’s multi-beam echo sounder and survey motor boat to map the icy region. The vessel, which is on loan from Norway as a replacement for damaged HMS Endurance, will also help to re-supply British Antarctic Survey stations.
Captain Peter Sparkes said: ‘The ship and her company are ready in all respects to face again the challenges of the southern ocean.’