HMS Scott has deployed to the Antarctic a century after her eponym Captain Scott’s final expedition to the area. The deep-water survey ship will once again conduct a survey of uncharted ocean for the UK Hydrographic Office and also provide support for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the British Antarctic Survey – despite not being an icebreaker and only able to navigate ice less than 80cm thick.
With a commitment to providing a continued British military presence in Antarctica reaffirmed in the SDSR, the Navy will get a dedicated ice patrol ship, reportedly to be named HMS Protector, in time for the next Austral summer. An as-yet-unidentified icebreaker will replace the damaged HMS Endurance, which has remained idle since returning from the Falklands in 2009. The acquisition of a replacement is a logical step, given that repairs were expected to cost at least £30 million for Endurance.