New ice patrol ship to replace Endurance

HMS Endurance in 2007
HMS Endurance in 2007
Leading WEM Phil Phillips, from Fareham, waves to his wife, Lynne, in the crowd as HMS Liverpool returns home after seven months on duty

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NORWEGIAN ice ship MV Polarbjorn is set to replace damaged HMS Endurance, the Ministry of Defence has announced.

It confirms Endurance, which almost sunk near Chile after a maintenance error in 2008, will never sail again – as revealed by The News in 2009.

Endurance has been docked at Portsmouth Naval Base ever since she was transported back to Portsmouth on a container ship at a cost of £4m in 2009.

Faced with a £40m bill to repair her, the MoD decided to seek a replacement vessel.

‘The intention is to lease MV Polarbjorn, a Norwegian ice patrol ship for an initial period of three years,’ defence minister Lord Astor of Hever said.

The icebreaker, which is on loan from GC Rieber Shipping, will arrive in Portsmouth in May. She will be fitted with specialist military equipment for a deployment to the Antarctic.

She will be renamed HMS Protector after a navy Antarctic survey vessel which served from 1936 to 1970.

The future of HMS Scott, which is not an icebreaker but has been conducting patrols in the Antarctic, is yet to be announced.