RRS Sir David Attenborough delivered

After 4 years under construction the new Polar Research vessel RSS Sir David Attenborough has been delivered from the building yard in the UK:

The largest commercial ship built in the UK in 30 years

What does RSS stand for? And why must the ship break 1 m thick ice? Isn’t it better to call for an ice breaker?

Should be RRS (not RSS): Royal Research Ship

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In Antarctic waters it is not the same as the Gulf of Bothnia. Better to be able to break some ice yourself.

PS> I read somewhere that; “those who believe that the Moon landing was faked is likely to believe that Elvis is still alive”.
Have you seen Elvis lately??

Breaking news from Heiwa website: Perseverance spots Elvis on Mars!


Elvis is everywhere.

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Hell yeah. Long live Mojo and Skid Roper.

Please refer to Boaty McBoatface by its proper name.


Royal Search Ship? I mean, only those who tread a beaten track do research…

Research vessels often operate in regions where icebreaker escort is not available and thus their polar variety needs ability to operate independently in ice-covered waters to some extent. 1-metre icebreaking capability is fairly typical for research vessels intended to operate in the Antarctic and the Arctic. It’s nothing to write home about but still sets the vessel apart from the majority of ships in service worldwide.

Icebreaking vessels rarely operate at the limit of their capability as there would be a significant risk of becoming overwhelmed by the ice and, to put it simple, getting stuck. However, the so-called limit ice thickness is an useful tool in reducing the ship’s overall operational capability, which encompasses to a multitude of ice conditions and operational situations, to a single performance point that can then be included in a shipbuilding contract or a specification document. It’s also fairly easy to test in model scale. Of course the downside of that approach is that if someone who has no idea about how to design an icebreaking vessel gets to design an icebreaking vessel, they may optimize the ship for this particular performance point instead of considering all relevant real-world ice conditions.


I see no need to break 1 m ice to do polar research. Better wait until the ice melts or send down a drone below the ice, etc. I lived in Japan when Elvis was reported dead.

Ah yes, Boaty McBoatface is complete. Smashing success!

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Many merchant ships have ice class to operate in ice broken by an ice breaker. These ice classed ships are not ice breakers. To construct a research ship as an ice breaker is just stupid. It should just be reinforced for ice.

It’s not an icebreaker. It’s an ice-strengthened research vessel with some independent operational capability in ice-covered waters. Ability to break 1-metre (about 40") thick level ice in a continuous motion is really nothing special. Obviously it can’t go* to the North Pole on its own, but it can operate safely in the marginal ice zone without icebreaker escort.

As for “isn’t it better to call for an icebreaker”, the problem is that the Antarctic summer season coincides with the northern hemisphere winter which means that the majority of the world’s icebreakers are needed in their home waters. Thus it is better to integrate as much capability to a single hull as technically and economically feasible.

(* or “shouldn’t go”; the ice conditions in the Central Arctic Ocean have been so poor in recent years that reaching the North Pole might be within the capabilities of RRS Sir David Attenborough in the near future)

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Another Research vessel has just completed sea trials, the Belgian RV Belgica:

Official sea trials of RV BELGICA (FREIRE-723) successfully finished last Sunday
She was built in Spain in compliance with IMO Polar Code

Remarkable similarities with the RRS Sir David Attenborough
Maybe not surprising, since both were designed and equipped by Rolls-Royce Marine in Ulsteinvik (Now Kongsberg Marene)

PS> The RV Belgica is a UT 844 WP design and the RRS Sir David Attenborough is a UT 851 PRV design,

Nice bow for ice breaking. But what is the purpose of the forward leaning mast on the focs’le with a stairwell to a top platform? Bird watching? I also like the extra wheel house on top.

Maybe so these two have a safe platform to stay on while looking for icebergs??:

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2 posts were split to a new topic: Two Injured in Lifeboat Drill Accident Aboard RRS Sir David Attenborough