The Royal Navy’s newest ice patrol ship HMS Protector leaves Portsmouth on deployment next week – and she’s not coming back.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has decided the icebreaker will now be based in Devonport, rather than Portsmouth, to join her with the navy’s other survey ships, The News can reveal.
The decision comes after the government decided to scrap HMS Endurance, the ice patrol ship which has been laid up in Portsmouth since it suffered catastrophic damage in 2008.
HMS Protector, a Norwegian ship which was on loan to the UK, has now been purchased to take her place.
The ship sails on a deployment next week, but when she returns to British waters in April next year, she will head for Devonport, not Portsmouth.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defence said: ‘Last year, the Royal Navy established a Hydrography and Meteorology Centre of Specialisation at Devonport, which was already the base port of the four survey ships in the squadron.
‘It has been decided that HMS Protector will move to Devonport on April 1, 2014.
‘This will bring the fleet together and complete the Royal Navy’s plans to focus hydrography and meteorology expertise in a single location.’