HMS Protector has joined international efforts to find and rescue an Argentine submarine reported missing in the South Atlantic Ocean.
Following a request for assistance from the Argentine government, the Portsmouth-based navy ship immediately changed course from her planned tasking and sailed to join the multi-national efforts to find the missing submarine ARA San Juan.
HMS Protector is the United Kingdom’s ice patrol ship, and as part of the scientific and oceanographic work she conducts is equipped with sonar equipment which can search beneath the waves.
The Commanding Officer of HMS Protector, Captain Angus Essenhigh, said: “Having arrived on station early this morning we are now assisting with the search and rescue efforts and my team on board are trained and equipped to deal with this task. They worked hard to ensure we were ready to begin search operations as soon as we arrived and we are now on task, using all the means at our disposal to try and locate the submarine. Our thoughts remain with the crew of the ARA San Juan and their families at this time.”
Alongside the re-tasking of HMS Protector the UK is also deploying its specialist Submarine Parachute Assistance Group (SPAG) to assist with the search efforts, and the Falklands Islands patrol vessel, HMS Clyde, is returning from a patrol to South Georgia in order to be able assist with the search for the ARA San Juan.
A British C-130 aircraft based in the Falkland Islands with the British Forces South Atlantic Islands (BFFSAI) remains stood by to assist with the aerial search efforts, and MoD efforts are being co-ordinated through that headquarters. High winds and heavy seas in the South Atlantic are affecting the ability of assets to conduct operations but the UK remains committed to efforts to find the missing submarine as soon as possible.