HMS Protector surveys wartime wreck

'HMS Protector' off St Helena island. Photo: Royal Navy 'HMS Protector' off St Helena island. Photo: Royal Navy

Survey ship, ‘HMS Protector’, recently surveyed the wreck of wartime tanker, ‘RFA Darkdale’, for salvage and marine operations.

The Royal Navy wartime tanker lies on the Atlantic seabed after being struck by German torpedoes in October 1941. The HMS Protector returned to the wreckage in James Bay, off St Helena island to survey the vessel using its suite of the latest sonar technology. The sonar imagery produced will help salvage experts examine the condition of the vessel.

Used to provide fuel to passing Royal Navy warships, the RFA Darkdale may still hold a considerable amount of fuel oil which could have a significant impact on the island and the surrounding environment if released.

The wreck is currently being assessed by the salvage and marine operations unit of the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support organisation to examine its potential environmental damage, ready for any future salvage work that may be required.

While at the wreck, an act of remembrance was held, as is tradition in the Royal Navy, after HMS Protector’s divers had revisited the vessel to lay a Union Jack on it.

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