HMS Protector Visits St Helena for the First Time
By J Brock (FINN)
Image taken from royalnavy.mod.uk
HMS Protector, the Royal Navy’s only Ice Patrol Ship, has visited the St Helena from Monday, 6 September to Friday, 10 September 2021. This is the first of two visits to the Island this year to carry out crew changes that coincide with arriving charter flights. The next visit will be in October.
The ship came directly from Gibraltar where she departed on Friday, 20 August. By the time of arrival the vessel had spent more than the standard 10 day quarantine period at sea. As per St Helena’s mandatory COVID-19 quarantine and testing arrangements, all personnel on board the vessel were tested on arrival. Crew will only be allowed ashore if all test results are negative. Once cleared, the crew were able to move about the island freely.
Twenty one crew arrived on the flight from the UK on 6 September and will quarantine at the Mantis Hotel in Jamestown until 9 September. The crew change took place on this date whereby a number of personnel on board the HMS Protector departed St Helena on board the Titan Airways charter flight. Those crew members in quarantine at Mantis will then join the ship. Once they joined HMS Protector on 9 September, no crew will be allowed ashore before the ship’s departure on 10 September.
All normal COVID-19 protocols were adhered to during this period including being tested 72 hours before departure from the UK and also on arrival. The Health Directorate and Police were fully engaged in ensuring all COVID-19 protocols, including transportation, are met in a safe and low risk manner.
While in St Helena waters, the HMS Protector carried out a hydrographic survey and surveillance of the seamounts. When she returns in October, the crew will carry out a training programme with the Sea Rescue team as well as participate in other community projects.
The HMS Protector allowed members of the public to board the ship for a tour between 9:30am and 11:00am on Tuesday, 7 September and Wednesday, 8 September.
Those persons interested in a tour should contact Linda Glanville on tel: 22555, or email: email@example.com by 12 noon on Friday, 3 September to register your name and provide your contact details. There are limited places available, and should interest be high, a selection process will be undertaken where names will be drawn from the hat.
Persons selected will be contacted shortly afterwards and advised of departure times from the wharf. Please note passenger boats will leave the wharf promptly therefore persons are asked to be punctual.
The HMS Protector is planning to open the ship again to visitors during her second visit in October. Further details will be announced nearer the time.
Further information on the HMS Protector is available online here: https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/our-organisation/the-fighting-arms/surface-fleet/survey/antarctic-patrol-ship/hms-protector