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.
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.