HMS Protector has made history by sailing further north than any other Royal Navy ship.
The survey and research ship crunched her way through polar ice to within 1,050km of the top of the world as she gathered data about the ocean and environment
Only submarines – such as HMS Trenchant which punched through the ice at the Pole in 2018 – can travel further north than the position the Plymouth-based survey ship reached: 80°41.5 North in the Greenland Sea.
Protector completed the most extensive overhaul in her decade-long career in the Royal Navy in January, since when she has been conducting extensive trials and training – all with the goal of deploying to Antarctica in the autumn.
Having been nowhere near the ice in more than two years, the ship tested the strength of her engines using a specialist bollard pull in Flekkefjord, southern Norway, then began icebreaking in earnest in the Fram Strait – between Greenland and the Norwegian island chain of Svalbard.
The ship tested herself against various depths and types of ice, assisted by scientists, engineers and advisors including from the Ministry of Defence and the British Antarctic Survey.