Posted: Wed 25th Sep 2019

New polar research ship to be formally named ‘RRS Sir David Attenborough’ today at Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Sep 25th, 2019

The UK’s new polar research ship is formally named the RRS Sir David Attenborough today by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. 

In their first engagement of the autumn, the royals will follow tradition by smashing a bottle of champagne against the hull at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead.

Special guest Sir David Attenborough will attend.

The public – via an online poll – wanted the vessel to be called ‘Boaty McBoatface’ but ministers dismissed it, an autonomous submersible onboard the RRS Sir David Attenborough has, however, be named Boaty McBoatface.

 

A three-day public celebration, hosted at the shipyard by British Antarctic Survey and Cammell Laird, aims to inspire and inform people about polar science, engineering and technology – and why it matters to everyday life. 

The event is focussed on our future – young people will play a role in the celebrations. 

Primary school students from the STEM Polar Explorer Programme will meet the Duke and Duchess as they take a private tour of the ship.  Local primary schools that have been studying the Antarctic and climate change will take part in a ‘penguin parade’.

 

Commissioned by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) – part of UK Research and Innovation, built by Cammell Laird and operated by British Antarctic Survey, this new research platform will transform how ship-borne science is conducted in the Polar Regions.

It is part of a major £300m Government polar infrastructure investment programme designed to keep Britain at the forefront of world-leading research in Antarctica and the Arctic.

Science Minister Chris Skidmore says:

“This is an incredibly exciting moment in our scientific history. The RRS Sir David Attenborough will allow us to make a major leap forward in our understanding of the environment.

As the first G7 nation to legislate for net zero carbon emissions, it is vital that we invest in scientific efforts that will help us deliver on this.

From our world leading capability in earth observation satellites to our ground-breaking research into plastic-eating enzymes, the UK continues to lead by example as a truly green economy.

This new vessel is an incredible feat of engineering.

But it also recognises one of our most respected and admired figures – Sir David Attenborough.

Nobody has done more than David to spread the message that we should understand and protect our planet, and I’m delighted that he is being honoured in this naming ceremony.”

Sir David Attenborough says:

“This is the third milestone event that I have attended during the construction of this superb ship, and I have enjoyed watching progress from keel-laying till now.

It is a remarkable engineering achievement. 

We all need this ship. Our world is changing and it’s clear that people around the world – especially the young – are becoming more and more concerned about a climate catastrophe.

But human beings are resilient and skillful.

If we pay attention to the scientific knowledge that those who will sail in this ship will gather, then we will stand a much better chance of finding a way to deal with what lies ahead.”

In the coming weeks specialist engineers will complete the interior fit-out. 

A programme of technical and equipment testing will take place around the River Mersey and in deeper waters around the UK. 

Ice trials in the northern hemisphere are planned from March 2020, followed by a science rehearsal cruise from August 2020. 

The ship is scheduled to enter full service from October 2020.

Cammell Laird CEO John Syvret CBE, says:

“This is a historic day for Cammell Laird, and todays naming of the RRS Sir David Attenborough, arguably one of the most complex vessels afloat, underpins our re-emergence to the premier league of the global shipbuilding community.  

It has taken 20 years to regenerate this infrastructure, capability and capacity, and I am extremely proud of all who have worked tirelessly to achieve today’s milestone.  

This vessel represents our greatest challenge to date, and I thank NERC and British Antarctic Survey for their trust and ongoing support to deliver this iconic vessel. 

This is the “Pride of Merseyside” and my special thanks go out to our workforce, TU, management and staff, together with our supply chain and all their families for their dedication and commitment to the project and the company.”

Broadcaster and naturalist, Sir David Attenborough says:

“This is the third milestone event that I have attended during the construction of this superb ship, and I have enjoyed watching progress from keel-laying till now.  It is a remarkable engineering achievement.

“We all need this ship.  Our world is changing and it’s clear that people around the world – especially the young – are becoming more and more concerned about a climate catastrophe.  But human beings are resilient and skilful. 

If we pay attention to the scientific knowledge that those who will sail in this ship will gather, then we will stand a much better chance of finding a way to deal with what lies ahead.”

 

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