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HMS Protector ‘complies with all requirements’ to operate from Montevideo

Wednesday, January 4th 2012 - 05:31 UTC
Full article 21 comments
HMS Protector docked in Montevideo among fishing vessels (Ptoho El Observa) HMS Protector docked in Montevideo among fishing vessels (Ptoho El Observa)
Update view of Montevideo port with HMS Protector docked Update view of Montevideo port with HMS Protector docked

Uruguay authorized the Royal Navy Ice Patrol HMS Protector into Montevideo because it complies with normal procedure in spite of the fact that its next port of call is Stanley in Falklands/Malvinas.

“HMS Protector was authorized to dock in Montevideo because it does not contradict the Uruguayan government policy towards the Malvinas issue” said Juan Jose Dominguez, Vice President of the Uruguayan Ports Authority, ANP.

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica during the last Mercosur summit in Montevideo, in mid December sponsored a strong commitment from all country members, -- in support of Argentina--, to bar all vessels flying the ‘illegal’ flag of the Falklands from having access to any of the region’s ports.

On Tuesday the Montevideo morning daily El Observador published that a Royal Navy vessel was docked in Montevideo since 30 December and that on Wednesday was leaving for the Falklands/Malvinas Islands. The front page showed a photo of the vessel with a Royal Marine, armed with a NATO standard assault rifle, on duty at the boarding ramp.

Dominguez said that had the vessel flown the Falklands flag it would have been barred from port adding that it was known for over three weeks that the vessel was going to call into Montevideo and “there are no impediments for her to make use of the port’s services”.

HMS Protector is an icebreaker involved in scientific research which visits and supplies British bases in Antarctica but also does some patrolling in the area.

According to El Observador, ANP records show the icebreaker arrived from Rio de Janeiro and her next port of call is Stanley, Falkland Islands on 7 January. HMS Protector is listed as a Norwegian vessel in spite of the fact she was pictured flying the white ensign.

”Had it been a fishing vessel with British flag, as we have said there would be no inconvenience; they are welcomed to operate in Montevideo. The issue is the Malvinas flag. I repeat we knew she was coming for over three weeks”, said Dominguez.

The Uruguayan official added that HMS Protector is “a scientific research vessel, heading for Antarctica, it has visited Montevideo on several occasions, I believe the last time two or three years ago and I think it is common sense that conflicts should not extend to all that which is related to international agreements on scientific research in a continent”.

When asked specifically about the military guard at the head of the ramp, Dominguez said that “many of scientific activities in Antarctica and North Pole involve the navies of the world. This vessel is not fitted with cannons or guns; it’s a peaceful unit from the Royal Navy. Curiosity is normal because of recent events, but really these vessels are a common sight in Montevideo”.

The new Ice Patrol HMS Protector, on her maiden Antarctic expedition was formally commissioned into the Royal Navy last 23 June, the 50th anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty at Portsmouth naval base.

The 5.000 ton vessel has been leased from Norwegian company GC Rieber Shipping for three years at an estimated cost of £40 million. It is estimated £13m was spent refitting the ship, which is leased at a cost of £26m.

Originally the Norwegian flagged icebreaker MV Polarbjorn, she replaces HMS Endurance which has been out of service since suffering a catastrophic engine room flood in December 2008 exiting the Magellan Strait on the Pacific. She was rescued from total loss by the Chilean navy.
 

Top Comments

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  • Lord Ton

    Protector is at least as 'scientific' as those research bases that Argentina keeps in British Antarctica :-)

    Jan 04th, 2012 - 07:01 am 0
  • Frank

    And it is '*HMS* Protector' ..... a comissioned ship in the Royal Navy..... and it is armed....well the bloke at the top of the gangway had a gun......

    So much for South American solidarity..... Oh what a larf........

    Jan 04th, 2012 - 07:58 am 0
  • Kipling

    HMS Protector is “a scientific research vessel, heading for Antarctica, it has visited Montevideo on several occasions, just this, it´s not the HMS ARDENT!

    Jan 04th, 2012 - 09:38 am 0
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