Royal Navy ship makes historic visit to Canada

  • HMS Protector makes its first ever visit to Canada
  • Anglo-Canadian collaboration on key issues including defense and global security
  • Captain Milly Ingham is the first female captain to command a Royal Navy ship

As part of the UK’s commitment to the Arctic region, HMS Protector has arrived in Montreal, Canada for the ship’s first ever visit to the country.

The ship welcomes researchers and academics from the UK and Canada to collaborate on important issues in science, technology, defense and global security.

HMS Protector is the Royal Navy’s ice patrol vessel and sole icebreaker. It can travel at speeds of up to 15 knots and has two cranes capable of lifting up to 60 tonnes of equipment to help resupply ice research stations. Deployed 330 days a year, Protector’s crew includes a team of hydrographers who undertake exploratory surveys and ensure environmental guidelines are met.

The ship is commanded by Captain Milly Ingham – the oldest woman to command at sea in the Royal Navy.

Commanding Officer of HMS Protector, Captain Milly Ingham said:

HMS Protector is a key symbol of the Royal Navy’s global reach, allowing us to cross the Arctic to Antarctica for research and security.

This visit is another step towards even closer collaboration with our Canadian allies, whose role is essential to maintaining stability in the region.

Taking command of the ship is the privilege of my career to date and I look forward to the opportunities and challenges the months ahead will bring.

The UK and Canada have funded and led scientific research projects worth £65 million over the past 5 years. The vessel is a research vessel fitted with state-of-the-art scientific equipment providing support to UK and overseas research stations. He usually operates in Antarctic waters, but this is his first time in Canada.

UK Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said:

We have an important and long-standing relationship with Canada that involves military alignment, training exercises and the sharing of expertise. But this relationship goes beyond just defence, and the work of HMS Protector underlines the importance the UK and Canada place on science, technology, climate change and security.

Susannah Goshko, British High Commissioner to Canada:

I have been looking forward to the arrival of HMS Protector in Canada since arriving here last year. The ship is not only a remarkable research and study vessel, but also represents the best of Britain in modern and challenging times.

Its dual science and defense capabilities highlight two areas where the UK and Canada are closely aligned. Our bilateral collaboration on climate change, joint research projects in the Arctic, and dynamic security and defense partnerships through the 5 Eyes and NATO demonstrate how much we value this ally and friend of trust.

The UK has strong relationships with Arctic states and has a responsibility to support our allies and partners to maintain stability and security in the region, including as NATO’s key European ally.

The deployment follows Defense Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin speaking last week at Canada’s defense exhibition, CANSEC. In his speech – as well as in discussions with his ministerial counterparts and industry representatives – he spoke about additional support for Ukraine, security in the High North and science and technology collaboration.

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