UK Border Force Cutter – Protector – new or old?

Update 01 August 2014

I am pleased to be able to include an additional article relating to HMC Protector  which has been provided by IHS Global Limited who own the copyright. Please see the attached PDF JNI_25 March 2014

Is the Border Force Protector a new vessel or has it got a history?

Actually this cutter which is new to the UK Border Force, had a previous 12 years of life with the Finnish Border Guard During  a cost cutting exercise and changes to the Border Guards operations, the FBG decided to sell three ships (called Tellkä, Tavi and Tiira respectively).

Finnish Border Guard Livery


Photo – courtesy of The Finnish Border Guard

UK Border Force Livery


Photo – courtesy of

Also it would seem that Tavi did not see a lot of use during the time spent with the FBG, and apparently could not operate properly in ice conditions due to not being strengthened for navigation in ice. Also its oil recovery capacity was not deemed adequate for dealing with the increased traffic in the Gulf of Finland.

An advert of the intended sale was therefore placed in the largest newspaper in Finland called the Helsingin Sanomat on Sunday 27 January 2013.

Finnish Border Guard

For those readers interested in more background information about the FBG have a read at this excellent and informative article

HMC Protector

Photo – courtesy of



Photo – courtesy of

The ship specification

The advert stated that the 3 ships were suited and equipped for patrolling, SAR and other related activities, in coastal areas and at sea. The length is 49.5 metres, with a draught of 3.7 metres, and a top speed of 20+ knots. They are equipped with 9 cabins and 18 bunks. They are considered to be approximately half way through their expected lifespan of 25 – 30 years


This ship was originally commissioned in 2002. It was fully fitted with guns and was able to carry depth charges, mines, etc. This was a requirement of the Ministry of Defence – Finland. The armaments have however been removed for its new role with the UK Border Force, who are able to call for assistance upon the fully armed ships of the Royal Navy if required during operations. It will however retain its gun mount foundations.

Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats

All the HM Cutters operated by the Border Force carries RHIB‘s. These are light-weight but high-performance and high-capacity boats, measuring approximately 7-metres. These are launched from the stern slipway.





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