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The Portsmouth based Royal Navy ice patrol ship, HMS Protector, has arrived in Antarctica to carry out security patrols.
The crew, supported by the British Antarctic Survey, will carry out a variety of inspections ranging from scientific stations and historic sites to cruise vessels and yachts.
Under the Antarctic Treaty, the crew are able to conduct on-site, unannounced inspections of all installations and facilities in the protected region.
HMS Protector's first visit was to the Brazilian research station Comandante Ferraz in Admiralty Bay, King George Island, which is near the tip of the Antarctic peninsula in the South Shetland Islands.
Commander Don Mackinnon, the ship's executive officer, said: ''HMS Protector is in the Antarctic representing both the United Kingdom and the Royal Navy in order to promote peace and security in the region and to help the international inspection team determine whether parties to the Antarctic Treaty are meeting their obligations.''
HMS Protector will also conduct survey taskings in the South Atlantic over Christmas and New Year before returning to Antarctic waters between January and April.