MoD says ice ship will stay in Portsmouth

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THE Ministry of Defence has confirmed the Royal Navy’s new ice patrol ship HMS Protector will continue to be based in Portsmouth.

There were concerns the ship may go to Devonport Naval Base and Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt sought clarification from defence minister Peter Luff.

In a letter, he said: ‘We have no plans to change the base-porting arrangements of HMS Protector. The welfare of service personnel is one of the most important factors in these decisions.’

Protector is a Norwegian icebreaker on loan from GC Rieber in a three-year deal worth £26m.

She arrived in Portsmouth in May as a replacement for damaged HMS Endurance, in port in Portsmouth since she almost sank off Chile in 2008.

Ms Mordaunt said: ‘I am so pleased that HMS Protector will work out of Portsmouth.

‘Portsmouth is proud of its status as home of the surface fleet and would have been very sad to lose HMS Protector – not least because she temporarily replaces HMS Endurance and has taken over her crew, so a move for Protector would have been a move for them, too.’