The RRS Sir David Attenborough came up the Thames on Wednesday through the Woolwich Barrier and is now tied up in Greenwich. She’s spending a few days at the home of the Prime Meridian to enable the public to see her, but also to mark the start of the COP26 climate conference.
The RRS Sir David Attenborough is one of the most advanced polar research vessels in the world. She was handed over to NERC and BAS by shipbuilder Cammell Laird on 27 November 2020. The ship is expected to commence polar operations in 2021 after a period of intensive mariner training, testing and trialling the many technical, scientific and operational features and capabilities.
This multidisciplinary research platform is expected to transform how ship-borne science is conducted in the polar regions and provide scientists with state-of-the-art facilities to research the oceans, seafloor, ice and atmosphere.
The ship has spent the past year in shake-down trials around the British coast. Her first ocean voyage will take her to Antarctica for the new austral summer research season.
International senior scientific advisers are using the Attenborough as a platform to issue a statement about the urgent need to address the climate crisis.
Technical features are:
- Length: 129 metres; beam: 24m; Gross Tonnage: 15,000
- Scientific cargo volume of approximately 900m³
- Endurance – up to 60 days
- Range 19,000 nautical miles at 13 knots (24 km/h) cruising speed; more than enough for a return trip from England to Rothera Research Station, or to circle the entire Antarctic continent twice!
- Ice breaking capability – up to 1m thick at 3 knots (5.6 km/h)
- Bow and stern thrusters for excellent dynamic positioning in challenging conditions
- Launch and recovery of aerial and ocean robotic systems
- Crew approx. 30
- Accommodation for up to 60 scientists and support staff