Attenborough science vessel ‘moving at pace’31/08/17Environment
The 900-tonne block of steel that will serve as the stern for the UK’s new polar ship is being moved into position at Cammell Laird on Merseyside.
The Birkenhead yard received the rear section of the Sir David Attenborough on a sea-barge from Northeast subcontractor A&P Tyne.
Multi-wheeled trailers are now moving the block from the quayside up to Cammell Laird’s construction hall.
Attachment to the rest of the hull will take place in the next couple of weeks.
The aim is to have the finished ship ready to begin trials by autumn next year.
Linton Roberts, managing director at Cammell Laird, said that assembly of the £200m (~€217m) vessel was moving at pace and on schedule.
He added: “We’ve got about 85% of the ship’s structure in fabrication at the moment, and each of the blocks being assembled on the slipway area are very much being outfitted now. And by outfit, we mean pipework, machinery, and cableways. So it’s a very busy time.”
The 128m-long RRS Sir David Attenborough has been commissioned to replace the UK’s existing polar fleet – the RRS James Clark Ross and the RRS Ernest Shackleton.
The new vessel will support British scientists working in the Antarctic and the Arctic. It will feature a large cargo hold, a helipad, cranes and on-board labs, and have the ability to deploy subs and other ocean survey and sampling gear.
The first full science expeditions using the Attenborough are expected to be conducted by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)-funded British Antarctic Survey (BAS) in 2019.