Royal Navy patrol ship to assist in search for missing Argentine submarine

The Royal Navy's HMS Protector has been deployed to join efforts to find and rescue an Argentine submarine reported missing in the South Atlantic Ocean.

Following a request for assistance from the Argentine Government, the Royal Navy patrol ship immediately changed course from her planned tasking and sailed to join the multi-national efforts to find the missing submarine ARA San Juan.

HMS Protector is the Royal Navy's ice patrol ship, and is equipped with sonar equipment which can search beneath the waves. 

The Commanding Officer of HMS Protector, Captain Angus Essenhigh, said: "We are currently making best speed towards the search area to provide assistance as quickly as we can. 

"We stand prepared to help with the search and rescue efforts and my team on board are trained to deal with this task. They are working hard to ensure we are ready to begin search operations as soon as we arrive.

"Our thoughts are with the crew of the ARA San Juan and their families at this time."

Protector is expected to arrive in the search area at some point on Sunday morning.

Plymouth-based HMS Protector is two years into a five-year deployment to the South Atlantic and Antarctica in support of UK interests in the region. She undertakes hydrographic surveys of the area to improve safety of navigation, conducts base visits and provides support to UK and foreign research stations.