WATCHED by a colony of curious penguins, sailors on board HMS Protector are surveying previously uncharted areas of Antarctica.
The Portsmouth-based ship is looking at areas of the South Sandwich Islands in the Southern Ocean.
Using her multi-beam echo sounder, the ship gathered data for the UK Hydrographic Office to fill in missing data in the admiralty charts.
At the same time, a survey team was sent to Thule Island to update the environmental survey records for the government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, a British Overseas Territory.
The survey findings will be analysed to assess the scale of any clean-up work required as a result of human presence and whether it would cause disruption for the resident penguin colonies.
Captain Rhett Hatcher said: ‘Part of our tasking is to gather data using our hi-tech on-board equipment and also to send teams of personnel ashore to conduct physical surveys.
‘This takes us to some very inhospitable and challenging environments but my team are well trained.’