New ‘Endurance’ to arrive in Portsmouth for the first time

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THE Royal Navy’s new ice patrol ship will arrive in Portsmouth for the first time on Monday.

Norwegian ice-breaker MV Polarbjorn – to be renamed HMS Protector – will eventually fulfil HMS Endurance’s role as an Antarctic patrol vessel.

The ship has been leased on a three-year contract from Norwegian company GC Rieber Shipping and has just completed a 10-day refit in Odense, Denmark.

The vessel is painted in the same distinct red and white livery as her predecessor ice patrol ships, and will enter Portsmouth under the Norwegian flag.

She will be officially named HMS Protector on June 1 and will be commissioned into the Royal Navy fleet on June 23.

In November the ship will deploy to Antarctica and remain in the region until mid-2012.

Captain Peter Sparkes, commanding officer of HMS Protector, said the first entry to Portsmouth marked a key milestone in the regeneration of the navy’s ice patrol ship.

He said: ‘I am very proud of what my ship’s company and all associated with this project have achieved in such short order.

‘We look forward very much to naming our new ship formally.’

The new ship replaces Endurance – nicknamed the Red Plum – which nearly sank off the coast of Chile in 2009.

It will pass the Round Tower, Old Portsmouth, at approximately 1.10pm.

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