Royal Navy's 'ice patrol ship' heading back to duties in Antarctica – msnNOW

The Royal Navy’s only ice patrol ship has resumed four months of monitoring the impact of global warming and environmental changes to Antarctica. She will build on her efforts 12 months ago when she helped count the penguin population, recorded glacier melt and updated nautical charts of the region to name just a few achievements.
HMS Protector, the Royal Navy’s sole icebreaker and affectionally known as its ‘Swiss Army Knife’, will work in and around the Antarctic peninsula, as well as remote islands and sensitive wildlife zones until March. This is when a southern hemisphere summer officially ends.
Protector spent the summer in Canada and the rather more tropical Caribbean – the latter working with the inhabitants and authorities in British Overseas Territories in the region to prepare for the 2022 hurricane season. The ship – which is based in Plymouth when in the UK, but will often be kept away for up to five years on long-term scientific missions – has spent the past few weeks in Montevideo in Uruguay for maintenance.
READ MORE: Plymouth man charged with rape after incident in city
In addition to the maintenance work, her sailors and Royal Marines took the opportunity to experience the city. Whilst there they renewed ties with the Armada Nacional (Uruguayan Navy), Antarctic Institute of Uruguay, schools, the AEDS (Uruguayan lifeboat organisation – Protector’s engineers provided some practical assistance) and the British community.
Sub Lieutenant Ollie Dean said: “I was lucky enough to visit various schools in Montevideo and speak to the students about the ship. They were excited to hear about the wildlife in Antarctica and the work we do there. In return, we were recommended the best places to go for a submarino [a mug of hot milk with dark chocolate] and some dulce de leche [caramelized milk].”
Crew paid homage to sailors buried in Montevideo’s British Cemetery after the Battle of the River Plate in 1939; an outgunned flotilla of Royal Navy ships engaged the powerful German ‘pocket battleship’ Graf Spee off the coast. New Zealander Neville Milburn, a 19-year-old telegraphist, was one of 36 men killed serving in cruiser HMS Achilles during the action, a wreath was laid on his grave during the ceremony.
The Nazi warship had suffered damage in the skirmish, so as a result had to flee to Montevideo – which was neutral – for repairs. These were not completed in time, result in it being famously scuttled in the estuary.
HMS Protector also played host to several local schools. Youngsters, ex-pats, Uruguayan sailors, and British Embassy staff alike all loaded stores on behalf of the Antarctic Institute of Uruguay to take to Artigas, their Antarctice base. After their efforts, the crew were then treated to a Uruguayan barbecue, and a football match at the Estadio Centenario.
Petty Officer Daniel ‘Tinks’ Tinkler said: “I really enjoyed Montevideo, great food and friendly locals. A nice city to get ashore during a busy maintenance period and relax.”
Leading Seaman Thomas ‘Shakey’ Stevens added: “Having spent the majority of my career in the Gulf, Montevideo was a fresh and exciting prospect for me. The people were friendly despite the language barrier and the restaurants were sublime.”