The Royal Research Ship (RRS) Sir David Attenborough is a polar research vessel to be constructed by Cammell Laird at its Birkenhead shipyard in Merseyside, UK, for Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). NERC's British Antarctic Survey (BAS) will operate the vessel.
The project was announced in April 2014, the construction is expected to start in the third quarter of 2016, and the vessel is anticipated to start operations in the third quarter of 2019.
"It forms part of a larger capital investment of £6.9bn earmarked by the UK Government for science, for a period up to 2021."
The project is estimated to require an investment of approximately £200m ($260m). It forms part of a larger capital investment of £6.9bn earmarked by the UK Government for science, for a period up to 2021.
The construction phase of the polar research vessel is expected to generate approximately 400 jobs and 60 apprenticeships.
RRS Sir David Attenborough will carry Lloyd's Register's class notations including +100A1, Polar Research Vessel +LMC, CAC1, LFPL, UMS, DP (AA), IBS, NAV1, PSMR*, ECO (BWT, GW, OW, P, NOx, SOx, IHM, R), Helicopter Landing Area, PC4, Winterisation D (-40), H (-40), S(C), and IWS.
Design and capacity of RRS Sir David Attenborough
The vessel will have an overall length of 128m, a breath of 24m and a draft of 7m, and will weigh 15,000t. It will be capable of accommodating 30 crew members, including 60 scientists and technical support staff. Designed to operate in the Antarctica and the Arctic waters, the vessel will be capable of enduring up to 60 days in sea-ice.
In addition to serving as a research vessel, it will also supply the five UK research stations in the Antarctic, operated by NERC's British Antarctic Survey, with cargo and research equipment.
Approximately 900m³ of space will be reserved for carrying scientific cargo onboard the vessel. The vessel will incorporate a customised moon-pool open to both the deck level and at the hull, for easy deployment of airborne robots, onboard environmental monitoring systems, and robotic submarines and marine gliders.