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Launch and recovery in the Antarctic

Leading boat launch and recovery systems supplier Vestdavit is bringing new fast craft handling capability to HMS Protector, the only Royal Navy ship dedicated to Antarctic Patrol & Survey duties.

The advanced icebreaker, which provides a UK presence in the Antarctic and meets treaty obligations on inspections, hydrographical charting and in support of scientific research, is to be equipped with a specially-enhanced PLR-5000 davit from Vestdavit. All seven of the davits onboard HMS Protector have been supplied by Vestdavit.

Part of a five-year docking and recertification package undertaken in the UK, the latest davit addition is a replacement unit supplied by Vestdavit to support missions by a newer and larger Fast Rescue Craft (FRC). The new PLR-5000 unit is fully winterized to function in line with the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters and certified in accordance with DNV-GL Rules as having been designed and built to operate in extreme temperatures of -40C.

The Vestdavit systems installed on HMS Protector comprise a mix of lifeboat and life raft davits, FRC davits and work boat davits. Drawing on previous deliveries to the Royal Navy, the PLR-5000 will support safe launch and recovery of the FRC and boat crew in Sea State 5 conditions.

“Having been stationed in Antarctica during my naval career, I am well aware of the challenges presented by extreme conditions and temperatures in the operation of advanced launch and recovery systems,” says William Goodall, Area Sales Manager for Vestdavit in the UK. “This is a challenge that Vestdavit has met head-on and I am proud that we, as a team, are playing our part in increasing the operational capability of one of the Royal Navy’s highest profile vessels.”

“HMS Protector plays a key role in ensuring the safety of navigation and understanding the marine environment in the Antarctic,” adds Goodall. “Vestdavit is delighted that its boat launching and recovery systems continue to make a critical contribution to the Royal Navy’s commitments in these unforgiving seas.”

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