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Ice-cap Xmas for Navy patrol crew

A Royal Navy crew has had its own early Christmas - on the ice caps of Antarctica.

The crew of HMS Protector, which is currently deployed to the Antarctic to carry out survey and patrol operations, held festive celebrations early as the ship will be at sea on Christmas Day.

As well as enjoying a roast turkey dinner in a real-life winter wonderland, the ship's company enjoyed a game of football.

Commanding Officer Captain Rhett Hatcher, said: "Spending Christmas in the coldest, windiest and driest place on earth comes with a number of challenges but it is a truly unique privilege.

"With 21 hours of daylight we need to remind ourselves to take a break from operations, but when we do so we know that despite being a very long way from our families and friends at home, we are proud to be on patrol for the Royal Navy and in the best possible Company over the Christmas."

The British Antarctic Territory is the UK's largest overseas territory and HMS Protector's role is to provide a sovereign presence in the region.

The 5,000 tonne ice patrol ship, which sailed from Portsmouth in October, travelling to the Antarctic Peninsula via Cape Verde, Rio de Janeiro and South Georgia, is also conducting research on behalf of the UK Hydrographic Office and providing logistical support to the British Antarctic Survey organisation.

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