HMS Protector

After what seems like an age, the replacement for HMS Endurance (Antarctic Patrol Ship) has been announced.

The name HMS Protector has previously been used for a number of ships but the last was also an Antarctic Patrol Vessel.  More information and images can be found at the HMS Protector Associations web site here.

After almost sinking following an engine room accident the fate of HMS Endurance has been uncertain, a decision on repair or replacement has yet to be reached but the decision has now been confirmed to provide an interim replacement for at least 3 years until a final decision can be made. The interim replacement is a polar research and subsea support vessel called MV Polarbjørn (Polar Bear).

HMS Scott, the survey vessel, has been acting as stand in but this is not ideal, taking her away from the normal survey role.

The Polar Bear is a mere 10 years old and although smaller than the laid up Endurance will still be a capable stand in, although the lack of a helicopter hangar is far from ideal. Currently owned by CG Rieber Shipping the Polar Bear was previously operating on the spot market.

Polarbjørn (Polar Bear) HMS Protector 01
Polarbjørn (Polar Bear) HMS Protector
Polarbjørn (Polar Bear) HMS Protector 01
Polarbjørn (Polar Bear) HMS Protector
Polarbjørn (Polar Bear) HMS Protector 01
Polarbjørn (Polar Bear) HMS Protector

To quote the CG Rieber web site

The ‘Polarbjørn’ is purpose-built for undertaking both long duration Antarctic expeditions, and offshore subsea support duties.  With her large public areas and accommodation capacities, helicopter deck and DP2 class, the vessel is well suited for undertaking flotel- and base ship functions on offshore fields and other operations. The vessel’s large deck areas and cargo holds offers ‘unlimited’ storage capacity for ROV and related equipment. The ship’s 50-ton knuckle-boom crane and the A-frame offers efficient solutions for handling equipment over the side and over the stern.

CG Rieber also operate the research vessel, The RRS Ernest Shackleton, currently on lease to the British Antarctic Survey.

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x

No helicopters? Really? Gosh. Looks tough though.

x

Single screw, but thankfully she has bow and aft thrusters. And aren’t modern bridge layouts wonderful.

I hope Their Lordships procure some proper ship’s boats for her in lieu of the whirlybirds.

I don’t know.

Anixtu

If it’s a 3 year bareboat charter then the RN can add a few modifications, like moving the flight deck and adding a hangar, especially if they intend to buy the ship later. Otherwise it just has to be reinstated to original condition on return to the owner.

x

@ Anixtu

I know. Helicopters are pretty vital down there. I am having a good poke round the shipping sites now. As I said above she will big improvement on Endeavour when it comes to handling. I just don’t trust the MoD(N)……….

Anixtu

Did Endurance have handling issues? She had bow and stern thrusters too, but not a DP system AFAIK. Is there something specific with regard to this procurement that you distrust?

Richard Stockley

There’s a lot of craneage at the stern, I’d suggest some of this could be unbolted to make room for a helipad and hanger. Also, taking the helipad off the top of the bridge would lower the CofG.

I would still prefer her to keep her older namesake of ‘Endurance’ but at least she’s purposebuilt.

But not helicopter hangar? Man, kinda tough there… not sure seeing her without a ships flight. Doesnt feel right at all… but they cant exactly bodge it. At least we have something right-ish for the job.

Foxbat

Well at least we’ve finally settled on a) having an Arctic patrol ship and b) something a bit more appropriate for job than Scott. Shame about the loss of Helos, but if its only three years hopefully we will be able to acquire something with a hanger at the end of that time (yeah right!) or if we buy Protector out right modify her to accommodate a Helo or two (not quite sure how though).

Welly

Regards to Polarbjørn, if you look over the details for the RRS Shackleton, you will find that she is basically a sistership, but unlike the Polarbjørn she has an aft Helideck rated for a 10t Helo, and storage is in the upper hold area, so if the RN does decide to keep her beyond 3yrs, you can see that she could be converted into a worthy successor to HMS Endurance.

jim30

“I just don’t trust the MoD(N”
Given that there is no such thing as the MOD(N), thats not a bad thing!

Protector was chosen based on what ice proofed ships were available for hire on the market at the time. She may not be perfect, but she represents the best of what is a fairly small market!

I understand there is no intent for her to serve as the long term capability though – she is seen very clearly as an interim measure.

a

I would still prefer her to keep her older namesake of ‘Endurance’ but at least she’s purposebuilt.

Given what happened to the original “Endurance” (Shackleton’s ship) I am not so sure. There are better names for British exploration ships if we are drawing on the past – Adventure, Discovery, Challenger, Enterprise, Endeavour, Nimrod, Southern Cross, Scotia, Quest, Alert, Hecla, Victory and Aurora all made it back in one piece, as far as I remember. As did Beagle.

a,

Indeed all worthy names, but its the battle honour and image of the late 20th century Endurance that lingers on, like other old name-sakes, it would be nice to carry them forward.

x

@ Anixtu

Endurance was (is?) a bit of a pig. One of my ex-cadets did two trips down south. According to her the Endeavour’s bridge could be a tense place to be when coming alongside especially in windy weather.

Now I have had a look at some more pic’s and checked some spec’s I am lot happier than when I posted late last night after not a very good day. There is space for a hangar, but I am not sure about her carrying 2 Lynxs. I hope they keep both the “crow’s nest” (a feature of a lot of Scandinavian ships) and I would keep the original helipad too.

Some nice pic’s here of the Polarbear,

http://www.vhf-online.dk/skibsbilleder_4/Polarbjorn.htm

x

@ Mike

I think she should be called something more in keeping with the modern RN. HMS Bury St Edmonds or HMS Milton Keynes……. :)

Anixtu

Interesting! My guess is that they were coming alongside without tugs in high winds and without enough bow and stern thrust to really get away with it. Not much option on tugs in some of the places she’d be visiting down south.

Protector should have rather more thrust available with three bow thrusters and two stern thrusters, specced for DP ops. Depending on details, DP requires 100% redundancy on thrusters – i.e. within the operational weather limits of the ship she can maintain station with a failure on any one thruster (or other component of the system).

Good find on the pics, I haven’t seen those ones before.

x

@ Anixtu

I am sure those pic’s weren’t there when I searched last night! But they do show lots of detail. At times though it can hard to scale stuff from photos at a glance.

Some careful planning for hangers etc. she should turn out all right.

Gareth Jones

Reminds me of a smaller RFA Diligence; any more similar ships for TD’s Forward Presence Ships?

Hugh

I wonder if the “Protector” name is intended to send a very unambiguous message to certain countries?

Foxbat

@ x

Yep, that sounds pretty much exactly like what should replace Endurance long term.

leesea

Five thrusters should make her VERY manueverable.

I have seen so many of this type ship (PSVs etc) with the helo pad forward of the house~ Why not just move it aft of house and put it on struts up from below? Of course interference with craneage would be consideration.

Gareth Jones

@ X – Do you know the displacement for the NB1369? Apart from the slow speed of 14kts it appears a good match for the FPS concept.

I’ve just noticed NavyNews.com is hosted on a German server…lol

Anyway, a question; will she be fitted out for gun mounts and military grade equipment? June is when she’ll go into service.
I’ve heard the Endurance will be scrapped, should it? £40 million to repair.

X;

Deffo agree with that, I was shocked South Africa actually had the need for one, then again, a lot of countries have claims to that continent.

Jackstaff

x and Foxbat,

I’ll bet that costs in the South African yards are quite manageable: get three! One for Endurance’s long-term replacement, one with doo-dads added (small fire-control system, etc.) for CTA 40mm for Falklands duty, one as a spare (all built FFBNW for the CTA 40, just plunked on to the one pulling Falklands work.) Much more useful than HMS Clyde, really (which should be sold to Jamaica as a flagship for their coast guard, help reduce the pressure on RN Caribbean presence and generate a little dosh.) Help build strategic relationships with S Africa and get useful stuff for relatively cheap.

Mike,

Yep, ever since the Valour class (the MEKO A200s) the SAN has been after a decent fleet for all missions. Makes sense: huge EEZ, sitting on the backup sealane if something happens to Suez/Bab al Mandeb, interests in Antarctica, strategic projection up the continental coasts without asking the neighbours, etc. But more impressive that they’ve given it some thought and ponied up for the expenses.

Jackstaff

Mike,

NavyNews on a German server, it says so much … :P

Jackstaff

x and F,

Well, now I see it’s STX Rauma on the job *facepalm* not quite so cheap but still a good relationship on which to get in. Maybe get “globalised” and elaborate and such and get the S Africans to license-build the design for the UK? After all the Danes helped keep costs down on Absalon/Huitfeldt with steel cut in the Baltic.

Foxbat

@ jackstaff

You’ll hear no complaint from me for buying three of them from the South Africans. However once the MOD get involved I’m sure they’ll suffer from capability creep (oh lets put this shiny whatsit on it as well!) and the MP’s from the Glasgow area will throw a wobbly about not getting the shipbuilding contract.

Jackstaff

Foxbat,

Both true. (And really it’s a sad place that the Glasgow MPs are nearly the only ones left who *can* throw a wobbly about a non-domestic build.) But since they’re not “proper” warships, perhaps it might be easier. (Per something in one of the Future of the RN threads, I firmly believe HMS Clyde is on the job now because the admirals wanted something that “looks right” on station around Those Islands rather than something like this SAN job with a whacking great crane to support the coming oil drillers, integral hangar, and nice facilities for a company of green death (who wouldn’t love those plush accomodations when stuck on that awful patch of ocean?) Plus room to stick a small feck-off gun somewhere up on the fo’c’sle.

x

I think that South African ship at a cost of 1.5 Typhoons is a steal.

I shall see if a can dig out a displacement figure; it is often quoted for merchant vessels. And being reinforced for ice she will be a bit weightier than normal. Um. For research vessels etc. you can normally use a naval vessel of a similar size (length etc.) And now SOLAS standards match in some respects naval standards a similar approach can be taken comparing modern ferries to amphibs.

x

it isn’t often quoted – sorry

Jackstaff

x,

Yes, it is a steal. And SOLAS standards would be perfectly good for a research support ship and a coast-guardy station ship that’s not expected to make ahead full and imitate Doveton Sturdee :)

x

From James Daly’s History Blog website;

The Ministry of Defence has announced that the Icebreaker MV PolarBjorn (Polar Bear) has been selected to become the Royal Navy’s new ice patrol vessel. PolarBjorn will be re-christened HMS Protector while in Royal Navy service. The last HMS Protector was also an antarctic patrol vessel.

Heres the spiel from Rieber’s website:

The ‘Polarbjørn’ is purpose-built for undertaking both long duration Antarctic expeditions, and offshore subsea support duties. With her large public areas and accommodation capacities, helicopter deck and DP2 class, the vessel is well suited for undertaking flotel- and base ship functions on offshore fields and other operations. The vessel’s large deck areas and cargo holds offers ‘unlimited’ storage capacity for ROV and related equipment. The ship’s 50-ton knuckle-boom crane and the A-frame offers efficient solutions for handling equipment over the side and over the stern.

A few facts and figures about Polar Bjorn:

* 90 metres long
* 18 metres beam
* 9.05 metres draught
* Gross tonnage 4,985 tons, deadweight of 3,700 tons

She is currently owned by Rieber Shipping, and was launched in 2001. Until recently she has been working under a Norwegian flag on the ‘spot’ tendering market in the North Sea and Arctic offshore oil fields. Apparently during 2010 she was only being used 33% of the time due to the economic downturn, so her chartering by the MOD will be welcome to her owners. Official announcements by Defence Minister Lord Astor suggest that she will be leased for three years while HMS Endurance‘s fate is decided, but I would suggest that it is likely that Endurance will be scrapped and PolarBjorn/Protector purchased once the lease runs out. The same happened with HMS Endurance herself.

Amusingly, apparently members of the HMS Protector Association had known about the acquisition since January, but had been sworn to secrecy by the ship’s new CO, Captain Peter Sparkes. The Association’s newsletter also announces that she will be formally commisioned on 23 June 2011 in Portsmouth.

According to some sources she will be arriving in Portsmouth for the first time in April or May. At that point she will undergo a refit to install naval equipment, such as communications and limited weaponry. Apparently her up-front helicopter deck is going to be removed, and a new landing pad installed nearer her stern. This will probably necessitate the removal of some of her crane capability, which she will probably not use fully in RN service in any case. She will also need a hangar, given the manner in which she will operate independently in the ice.

The former ice patrol ship HMS Endurance is being withdrawn from service after suffering serious damage when she flooded in the South Atlantic in 2008. Since then the Offshore patrol vessel HMS Scott has been standing-in in the South Atlantic, but this is far from ideal as she is not an ice-breaker, and takes her away from her other role.

It will be good to see a new ship entering Portsmouth for a change.

ArmChairCivvy

Hi x

Thanks for the STX information: “as a passenger ship for some 150 people and will feature a gym, library and small hospital. In addition, it will be able to carry and launch two Oryx helicopters.

The ship will be able to spend several months at sea and will have a top speed of 14 knots. It will be able to travel through 1 metre thick ice at a speed of 5 knots”

The S. Africans are paying 116m euros for that one; shouln’t something like this be PFI’ed?

x

Well I don’t see why not. Leasing the Rivers seems to be working out OK. In the coming century the sea will become increasingly important. Post WW2 the British have had a good record of getting out of things just as the smart people buy in. Look what the Germans were building back in 1981 when HMG seemed to be quietly withdrawing from the Antartic,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RV_Polarstern

Any step HMG takes to protect British sovereignty is to be welcomed. I fear any gaps will leave us open to European involvement which is normally to the detriment of us and the profit of the rest.I am just relieved that something is being done to replace Endurance. I am looking forward to seeing the results of Protector’s refit.

Jed

Cheap and available – no hanger = not fit for purpose, typical MoD / HMG pile of pants…..

Rick Barnes

Although I am sure that the name HMS Protector is a good name, I am partial to HMS Hecate – another small ship that also fulfilled the IPS role whilst the Endurance of its time was undergoing refit in 1982….

Euan

Don’t know if those looking at the newish CVR(T) frankentank noticed this on the thread>>
comment image

HMS Protector after her modifications seems like a typical MoD bodge job to be honest but hopefully that means it’s temporary.

radar

The name HMS Protector has previously been used for a number of ships but the last was also an Antarctic Patrol Vessel. More information and images can be found at the HMS Protector Associations web site here.
this is a somewhat inaccurate fact as the previous HMS Protector was a patrol boat based in Port Stanley which was a converted North sea oil rig support vessel previously operated by the Seaforth company, she had two sister ships Hms Guardian and Hms Sentinel

Norrie Millen

Your link to HMS Protector Association is out of date and leads to an expired page.

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