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16 June, 2024
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Britain's new ship to protect underwater cables

RFA Proteus takes on underwater threats in Britain

Source: Business Insider

Concerned by threats to underwater pipes and cables that connect it with Europe and the rest of the world, Britain this month formally dedicated a new and unusual surveillance ship called the RFA Proteus.

The 6,000-tonne vessel will be crewed by 26 sailors and "augmented by" 60 Royal Navy specialists "responsible for the undersea surveillance, survey and warfare systems," according to the Royal Navy.

The Proteus was dedicated on October 10 at a ceremony in London, less than a year after Britain's Ministry of Defense began work on it, converting a commercial vessel that had previously been used for subsea construction and maintenance work on oil platforms.

The ship, which underwent final testing in September, is the first of two vessels that will operate under the auspices of Britain's Multi-Role Ocean Surveillance program. Last year, the UK government announced it was expediting the program, citing the increased commercialization of the seabed and the concomitant increase in opportunities for attacks by foreign adversaries.

"In the face of Russia's illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and Putin's reckless disregard of international arrangements designed to keep world order, it is right that we prioritize delivering capabilities which safeguard our national infrastructure," British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said at the time.

The ship's dedication follows two high-profile attacks on underwater infrastructure: The September 2022 sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipeline and, just this month, the destruction of an undersea gas pipeline and telecommunications cable connecting Finland and Estonia.

Cyprus  |  navy  |  Britain  |  Russia

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