HMS Protector has arrived in Christchurch, New Zealand, as part of her historic Southern Ocean patrol. The arrival of the specialist ice patrol ship marks the close cooperation that exists between the UK and New Zealand in upholding the conservation rules of the Antarctic Treaty System and to protect the Southern Ocean from illegal fishing activities.
HMS Protector sailed from Hobart in mid December with a team of New Zealand and Australian officers embarked.
With their support, Protector conducted a five week fisheries patrol in the Southern Ocean and was also the first Royal Navy, or UK Government, vessel to visit the East Antarctic and Ross Sea regions for 80 years.
Acting British High Commissioner to New Zealand, Helen Smith said HMS Protector’s Antarctic patrol was a strong example of the close working relationship between the UK and New Zealand.
“With New Zealand, we have shared scientific programmes and stewardship roles in the region,” she said.
“This patrol has deepened that co-operation and will ensure fishing and other commercial activities in the Ross Sea region are carried out in line with international conservation agreements.”
Commander Trefor Fox, Protector’s Second in Command, added that it was good to be working with Australian and New Zealand partners.
He said: “One hundred years after Sir Ernest Shackleton’s epic Endurance expedition, it is an honour for HMS Protector to have made our own ‘trans-Antarctic’ visit to East Antarctica and the Ross Sea region.
”We are delighted to work in partnership with our Australian and New Zealand colleagues to underpin our shared Antarctic Treaty objectives.”
Protector came alongside in Lyttleton, just outside Christchurch where she hosted an Open Day over the weekend.