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HMS Protector (A173)
Organisation / Units & Squadrons

HMS Protector (A173)

HMS Protector is the Royal Navy’s Ice Patrol Ship. She sails the waters of Antarctica and the Southern Hemisphere and is deployed for 330 days a year. 


HMS Protector routinely deploys to the South Atlantic during the ‘ice season’. She travels to various locations in and around the Antarctic Peninsula on missions including:

  • Undertaking hydrographic surveys of the area to improve the safety of navigation.
  • Providing support to UK and foreign research stations.
  • Assisting the British Antarctic Survey.

As well providing practical support, Protector is a symbol of the Royal Navy’s global reach and operational flexibility. She shows that we’re ready and able to act whenever and wherever needed.


HMS Protector is the Royal Navy’s only Ice Patrol Ship. She calls the freezing waters of Antarctica and the Southern Hemisphere home.

She is affectionately referred to as the Royal Navy’s ‘Swiss army knife’ – red, versatile, and always there when you need her!

HMS Protector’s crew includes a team of Hydrographers, who undertake exploratory surveys and ensure that environmental guidelines are being upheld.

This ice patroller is well-equipped with two cranes capable of lifting up to 60 tonnes of stores and equipment.


Commanded by Captain Tom Weaver OBE, with a team of mountain leader-trained Royal Marines, Protector is ready for every mission Antarctica might throw at her. She offers:

  • Survey capability – including multi-beam echo sounding and inshore survey equipment for accessing shallower waters.
  • Small work boats – including a Survey Motor Boat ‘James Caird IV’, and several inflatable and rigid inflatable motor boats.
  • Long endurance – capable of being deployed in excess of 3 months without external support.

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