The Royal Navy ship, HMS Protector left Port Kingstown yesterday, August 25 after a routine stop over during which crew were engaged in a slew of activities.
Each year, the United Kingdom deploys at least one Royal Navy ship to the Caribbean region to offer support if needed during the hurricane season and this year, HMS Protector, an arctic explorer was sent as its replacement, a release from the office of the British High Commissioner states.
HMS Protector is the Royal Navy’s Ice Patrol Ship. Often seen in the frozen seas around Antarctica, she is currently in the Caribbean conducting important survey work during the austral winter. In addition, her crew and embarked Army Commando Engineers are on constant standby, ready to support the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office with Humanitarian Aid and/or Disaster Relief during the annual Core Hurricane Season.
Captain Maryla Ingham is HMS Protector’s Commanding Officer. In April 2022, she became the Royal Navy’s first female Captain to command an operational warship. A busy year will see Capt Ingham’s crew transit from the length of the Americas, up to Canada and back, before she leads them into the icy expanse of Antarctica. Despite a successful career with appointments both at home and abroad, this is her first visit to the Caribbean region.
On Monday, August when the ship arrived in SVG, Captain Ingham paid a courtesy call on prime minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves along with Senator Keisal Peters, member of the police force and coast guard along with personnel from the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO). Other activities while the ship was docked included a cocktail reception, a football match against the coast guard and trip to the Windward side of the mainland, stopping at a Vincentian crew member’s home village.
With the Navy’s commitment to satisfying the local interest of Vincentians to be recruited in the Navy, a capabilities tour is slated for potential recruits for the Navy who have already been accepted.
Captain Ingham also said, “HMS Protector is delighted to be alongside here in St. Vincent, despite our arrival coinciding with some particularly British weather! Nevertheless, I’m most grateful to the High Commission and the island for hosting us over the next few days.
My ship and its crew are looking forward to some well-earned time exploring ashore before getting back to our important work.”