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 5-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 winterised to function in line with the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters.
The Code demands that marine equipment exposed to polar conditions can operate in temperatures 10 degrees Celsius below the Mean Daily Low Temperature (MDLT) of -30° C. In line with the Royal Navy’s exacting requirements for its harsh Antarctic operating environment, the PLR-5000 davit system supplied will be certified in accordance with DNV-GL Rules as having been designed and built to operate in extreme temperatures of -40° C.
“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.”
The Vestdavit systems installed on HMS Protector comprise a mix of lifeboat and life raft davits, FRC davits and work boat davits, with the ship sometimes referred to as the supplier’s “Flagship”. The latest order calls for the 19th PLR-5000 delivery to the Royal Navy, confirming the equipment type’s position as preferred technology for the Hydrographic Flotilla and Fishery Protection Squadron. Overall, this will also be the 30th davit supplied by Vestdavit to the RN.
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. Its wide operating window is made possible by proven features supplied by Vestdavit as standard, including shock absorbers, high performance winches and a constant tension system.
“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.”