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Endurance begins 18 month South Atlantic deployment

Wednesday, November 28th 2007 - 20:00 UTC
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The Ice Patrol won't  return to Portsmouth until after the 2008/09 season The Ice Patrol won't return to Portsmouth until after the 2008/09 season

The Royal Navy's Antarctic patrol ship HMS Endurance left Portsmouth base on Wednesday for the longest mission in her history. She heads for the Falkland Islands and the South Atlantic to fulfil her usual task of survey work and support for scientific research throughout the Antarctic summer.

With the completion of that season's work, she will not return home but will be employed to reinforce Britain's maritime security operations in the warmer areas of the Atlantic during the Antarctic winter. HMS Endurance, under her Commanding Officer Captain Bob Tarrant RN, will return to her more traditional duties during the Antarctic summer of 2008-09 before finally returning home to Portsmouth 18 months after her departure. During her odyssey, members of her ship's company will be rotated so that they will not be away from home for more than a few months at a time. When she reaches the Antarctic, Endurance will continue to support the vital work done by the British Antarctic Survey, breaking ice with her specially designed bow to take them and their supplies to remote areas that can only be reached by ships or helicopters. Captain Bob Tarrant said that eighteen months is a marathon and not a sprint and the Red Plum has trained hard with the help of the FOSTies (Flag Officer Sea Training Staff) to ensure that she can maintain the highest standards and tackle any eventuality in the remote corners of the British Antarctic Territory that only she can operate in "You can't operate in the harshest environment in the world unless you have the best training in the world, FOST gives us that edge". Captain Tarrant also talked about the importance of public and family support. "When you deploy for along time you need to know that the public support your work and that your families know what you are going away for. The Ship's affiliated City, Portsmouth, gives us great support and in June awarded the freedom of the city to the Red Plum in a stirring and incredibly proud ceremony with a march past up Commercial Road", said Captain Tarrant. In October, she hosted both Affiliates and Families days to thank them for the support they have shown over the last deployment and this upcoming one. "Nothing gives a Sailor more satisfaction than watching Dad or Daughter get to grips with their job, to see where they live and get a feel for the ship." Captain Tarrant believes the most important factor to a successful long deployment for the Red Plum is a happy crew. "My main aim is to ensure that my ship's company gets the same amount of leave and time with their families as they would alongside. Roulementing an entire ship's company via the Falklands and South Africa is obviously going to produce additional cost and lost manpower due to the distances involved, but my team is up to the challenge" This season which is of particular note, she is taking the son of Dr Reginald James, the Physicist who accompanied Shackleton, to Elephant Island where his father was marooned for months on the ill fated mission in 1916. HMS Endurance is also hosting teams from BBC Nature and the World Service to highlight the importance of the Antarctic to us all and the work that Endurance does.

Categories: Politics, Falkland Islands.

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