Monday, November 12th 2012 - 19:00 UTC

HMS Protector heading for Antarctica after surveying Tristan da Cunha waters

The Royal Navy ice patrol ship HMS Protector on her route to the Falklands and Antarctica, has visited the remote South Atlantic island of Tristan da Cunha to conduct the first systematic survey of the British Overseas Territory since the 1970s.

The Ice patrol conducted the first systematic survey of the Islands since 1970 (Photo MoD)

Edinburgh of the Seven Seas is the main settlement on Tristan da Cunha. It was forced to evacuate its entire population to England following a volcanic eruption in 1961.

In 1962 a Royal Society expedition visited the islands to assess the damage and reported that the settlement had only been marginally affected. Most families returned to Edinburgh in 1963.

Although Edinburgh remained habitable, the 1961 eruption badly affected the waters surrounding the settlement, leaving them particularly hazardous for navigation and in need of surveying.

In the first survey of the area to be conducted using modern techniques, HMS Protector used her motorboat and onboard systems to make a multi-beam echo sounder survey of the Edinburgh Anchorages.

The territory is the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world, lying 2.816km from the nearest land, South Africa, and 3.360km from South America.

It consists of the main island of Tristan da Cunha itself - which measures 11km across - along with the uninhabited Nightingale Islands and the wildlife reserves of Inaccessible Island and Gough Island. It has a permanent population of 275.

During her three-day visit, HMS Protector also conducted a fishery protection patrol around the islands. Her presence reaffirms the UK's commitment to the area and in this instance also provides a tangible survey product for the local people and economies.

Captain Peter Sparkes, HMS Protector's Commanding Officer, said: “it is a genuine pleasure and privilege for HMS Protector and the Royal Navy to be able to help in making the waters around Tristan da Cunha safer for all seafarers; we are delighted to be here.”

From Tristan da Cunha HMS Protector will begin her passage to the Antarctica
 

6 comments Feed

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1 Rufus (#) Nov 13th, 2012 - 12:37 am Report abuse
Wasn't Protector accused of being a spy ship by one of the lunatics on here, despite it having 292 feet of BRIGHT RED HULL?
2 redpoll (#) Nov 13th, 2012 - 01:18 am Report abuse
Problem is Buenos Sires doesnt know where Tristan da Cunha is otherwise the would want to kick the wicked colonists of that Atlantic Island too. Probably also make a formal protest to Norway about the colonization of Bouvet Island. Ooops!! Another blooper by the Argentine Foriegn Ministry. There are no Norwegians or any other nationality on Bouvet. Argentine answer Well if there is nobody there it must be ours by right of conquest by Santa Cruz penguins
3 British_Kirchnerist (#) Nov 14th, 2012 - 10:48 pm Report abuse
#2 Well if you're saying there's no-one there, surely it should be part of the nearest country?!
4 Rufus (#) Nov 15th, 2012 - 12:09 pm Report abuse
@3 You do realise that the nearest country isn't Argentina don't you?
5 redpoll (#) Nov 15th, 2012 - 03:38 pm Report abuse
Oops. Bk hasnt got his atlas out Bout time the penguins had a voice in the G24 committee of the UN. Thier squawks would probably make more sense than most of the hot air eructed on that body
6 British_Kirchnerist (#) Nov 16th, 2012 - 12:56 am Report abuse
I'm not Argentine, why should I care what the nearest country is - its certainly not the UK!

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