She’s big, she’s red, and she’s arrived in the frozen Antarctic after a long sail south from Portsmouth.
HMS Protector, the Royal Navy’s ice patrol ship, has brought a touch of vibrant colour to the usually white surroundings of the cold continent.
She is there to carry out inspections of scientific stations, historic sites and vessels to make sure they are complying with the Antarctic Treaty.
The crew’s first visit was to the Brazilian research station Comandante Ferraz in Admiralty Bay, near the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula in the South Shetland Islands.
The icebreaker’s executive officer, Commander Don Mackinnon, said: ‘HMS Protector is in the Antarctic representing both the United Kingdom and the Royal Navy in order to promote peace and security in the region, and to help the international inspection team determine whether parties to the Antarctic Treaty are meeting their obligations.
‘The unique capability of the Royal Navy’s ice patrol ship, and the significant and very positive contribution it makes to regional co-operation and engagement, has never been more important.
‘We look forward to a long and productive session in Antarctica.’
Over the Christmas and New Year period, HMS Protector will also carry out survey tasks in the South Atlantic.
She will return to the Antarctic waters in January until April.