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Ice patrol ship HMS Protector is protected by Ecospeed

Written by Nick Blenkey
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HMS Protector in dry dock following Ecospeed application

JULY 1, 2015 — At the end of May, the Royal Navy Ice Patrol Ship HMS Protector was coated with Ecospeed at the A&P Tyne Ltd. Shipyard in Tyne and Wear, England.

The vessel is deployed on operations for 330 days a year, mostly in the Antarctic region. It is therefore essential that her underwater hull is protected against the harsh icy conditions she is faced with.

Built in Norway as the MV Polarbjørn in 2001, she operated under charter as a polar research icebreaker and a subsea support vessel until 2011 when she was chartered by the British Ministry of Defence as a temporary replacement for the ice patrol ship, HMS Endurance before being purchased in September 2013.

Prior to the Royal Navy charter, she underwent a ten day refit. The helicopter deck which was originally located above her bridge, was repositioned over the stern. Also a new echo-sounder for survey work was installed. She was also modified to allow the carriage of the ancillary vessels and vehicles (survey boats, all-terrain vehicles) used in support of the British Antarctic Survey.

The number one consideration in a hull coating for ice-going vessels and icebreakers is the ability of the coating to protect the hull in the harshest marine environment there is.

Ecospeed demonstrates excellent attachment to the hull and successful resistance to extremely icy conditions. The coating has proven its ability to withstand the harshest winter conditions on numerous occasions.

For over seven years a number of vessels coated with Ecospeed have been sailing as far as both the North and the South Pole. These vessels’ underwater hulls frequently have to endure the impact of large pieces of floating dry ice.  Despite this, none of them vessels have required more than just a few touchups during their dry dock visits.

Ecospeed has received Lloyd’s Register certification recognizing it as an abrasion resistant ice coating. This allows owners of vessels intending to navigate in ice conditions to reduce the scantlings of the ice belt— the area on the bow just above the waterline that is most prone to mechanical damage from sailing through ice — if this area is coated with Ecospeed.

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