Posted December 01, 2015 14:47:04

The British icebreaker HMS Protector in Hobart Photo: The British icebreaker HMS Protector will patrol the Ross Sea. (ABC News: Kieran Jones)

For the initial time in 80 years a British Navy ship will patrol the Ross Sea, with HMS Protector setting out to target Patagonian toothfish poachers.

The icebreaker, which normally works on the British-owned Antarctic Peninsula, has docked in Hobart ahead of a month-extended patrol of the Ross Sea.

The ship’s captain, Rory Bryan, hopes the venture will deter illegal fishing operations.

“Our essential function is going to be the upkeep of what is known as CCAMLR – which is the fishery protection role in Antarctica – and we’re going to be assisting the Australians, in impact, police those waters,” he stated.

The area has traditionally been patrolled by vessels from Australia and New Zealand, but under the Antarctic Treaty, Commonwealth powers are combining to crack down on illegal fishing.

Protector is an icebreaker which can go via half a metre of ice at eight knots. She’s extremely capable and properly built for those places.

Captain Rory Bryan

Formerly a industrial ship, the Protector and its 75 crew, which consists of a boarding celebration of marines, will have the power to board and inspect boats.

“If they are not right in any way, shape or form, we will clearly report them and make positive that they never do the illegal fishing again,” Captain Bryan mentioned.

The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) welcomed the help, saying it was the most current in a string of cooperative projects.

And there are hopes the increased presence in toothfish waters can place a quit to the practice fully.

“Efforts have been made by a quantity of nations, the UK and Australia foremost amongst these, and this is yet another big step in that,” AAD director Nick Gales mentioned.

“It really is keeping it down at low levels, now, and it’s critical to hold up that stress on the illegal fishers.”

A marine on board HMS Protector Photo: The Protector’s contingent of marines will board illegal vessels if needed. (ABC News: Kieran Jones)

No underestimating the challenge of the Ross Sea

Protector’s crew members are not underestimating the challenge presented by the Ross Sea.

“It really is very unpleasant climate, the ice is quite thick,” Captain Bryan mentioned.

“Protector is an icebreaker which can go via half a metre of ice at eight knots. She’s quite capable and well constructed for these areas.”

Meteorologist Sam Brown mentioned the circumstances would be a continual battle.

“Winds are already going up to 65, 70 knots, which is virtually classed as hurricane force,” he stated.

Japan’s whaling fleet not targeted

The expedition will not involve tracking Japanese whaling boats even though, which began their voyage to the Southern Ocean right now.

Dr Gales once once more condemned the practice though.

“It is deeply disappointing, it is really frustrating,” he stated.

“The international court of justice created a extremely clear determination that Japan’s activities in the Southern Ocean had been not for the purposes of scientific research.

“In our view, they’ve completed nothing to alter that. The plan that they’re undertaking now is not changed in any substantial way from what they have been carrying out in the past.”

He said the excuse utilized by Japan that the whaling was science-based was a falsehood.

“So it really is a extremely frustrating method, the insistence that this has anything to do with science at all.”

The Protector will set sail from Hobart mid-December.

Captain Rory Bryan at the bridge of the British icebreaker HMS Protector Photo: Captain Rory Bryan, proper, at the bridge of the British icebreaker HMS Protector.

Subjects: illegal-fishing, science-and-technology, hobart-7000

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