RRS Sir David Attenborough
RRS Sir David Attenborough is a research vessel owned by the Natural Environment Research Council, to be operated by the British Antarctic Survey for the purposes of both research and logistic support. In this, the ship is intended to replace a pair of existing vessels, RRS James Clark Ross and RRS Ernest Shackleton. The vessel is named after broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough.
RRS Sir David Attenborough under construction at Cammell Laird on 9 June 2019
|Name:||RRS Sir David Attenborough|
|Namesake:||Sir David Attenborough|
|Owner:||NERC Research Ship Unit|
|Operator:||British Antarctic Survey|
|Laid down:||17 October 2016|
|Launched:||14 July 2018|
|Christened:||26 September 2016 by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge|
|Identification:||IMO number: 9798222|
|Length:||128.9 m (423 ft)|
|Beam:||24 m (79 ft)|
|Draught:||7 m (23 ft)|
|Depth:||11 m (36 ft)|
|Range:||19,000 nautical miles (35,000 km; 22,000 mi) at 13 knots|
|Aircraft carried:||1 helicopter|
In 2014, the UK Government announced funding for the construction of a new polar research vessel for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) to replace a pair of existing ships. This new ship was intended not only to be fully equipped with the latest instrumentation for the purposes of carrying out research in polar regions, for which it would have an improved icebreaking capability and greater endurance over the existing polar research vessel, but also to serve as a logistic support vessel for BAS teams in inshore locations.
BAS contracted Houlder Ltd to undertake the basic design in which suggestions for the final configuration of the new ship were taken. Following the consultation period, in 2015, Rolls-Royce Holdings was selected to execute the detailed design and Cammell Laird in Birkenhead was selected as the preferred bidder to construct the ship.
The ship is about 125 metres (410 ft) long, with a beam of about 24 metres (79 ft). The draught is about 7 metres (23 ft) with a planned cruising speed of 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph) with a range of 19,000 nautical miles (35,000 km; 22,000 mi) at that speed. She is capable of carrying a helicopter and has a capacity for approximately 900 cubic metres (32,000 cu ft) of cargo. Accommodation is provided for 30 crew and 60 research staff.
Sir David Attenborough has a twin-shaft hybrid diesel-electric propulsion system. The vessel's power plant consists of two 3,600 kW (4,800 hp) 6-cylinder Bergen B33:45L6A and two 5,400 kW (7,200 hp) 9-cylinder Bergen B33:45L9A main diesel generators, a 885 kW (1,187 hp) harbour generator, and two 2,500 kW (3,400 hp) battery systems each of 500 kWh (1,800 MJ) capacity. The power plant, which can run with different configurations depending on the mission and operating conditions, produces electricity to power four 2,750 kW (3,690 hp) asynchronous electric motors driving two 5-bladed controllable pitch propellers. This gives Sir David Attenborough a maximum speed of 17.5 knots (32.4 km/h; 20.1 mph) in open water and ability to break up to 1-metre (3.3 ft) thick level ice at a speed of 3 knots (5.6 km/h; 3.5 mph). At an economical cruising speed of 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph), she has an operating range of 19,000 nautical miles (35,000 km; 22,000 mi). For manoeuvring and dynamic positioning, the vessel has four 1,580 kW (2,120 hp) Tees White Gill thrusters, two in the bow and two in the stern.
The vessel has been strengthened according to the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) Unified Requirements for Polar Class Ships. Her ice class, Polar Class 4, is intended for year-round operation in thick first-year ice which may include old ice inclusions. However, her propulsion system is rated for Polar Class 5 which is intended for medium first-year ice.
The ship was constructed by combining individually fabricated blocks, much like the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers. The majority of the blocks will be manufactured by Cammell Laird at Birkenhead, but due to a tight schedule, the stern of the ship (named 'Block 10') was fabricated at the A&P Group on the River Tyne. The section was transported to Merseyside on a barge in August 2017. The stern section was loaded onto the barge by heavy lifting company ALE, using self-propelled modular trailers (SPMT). The same procedure in reverse was then used to get the hull segment on to the slipway at Birkenhead. The hull of Sir David Attenborough was named by her namesake and launched on 14 July 2018. She was moved into a wet dock for the addition of her superstructure and fitting out. The ship was originally scheduled to be completed by October 2018. The official naming ceremony took place on 26 September 2019. A bottle of champagne was smashed across the ship's bow by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge at Cammel Lair's shipyard in Birkenhead. Sir David Attenborough was present at the ceremony. Poet Laureate Simon Armitage wrote a poem "Ark" to celebrate the naming ceremony.
|NERC Name Our Ship campaign, 2016|
|Location||Online, predominantly United Kingdom|
Shows top five suggestions out of 7,034
In March 2016, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) announced that members of the public were being asked to suggest names for the ship. Names previously used would not be eligible, but otherwise it was open to suggestions. The NERC stated that they would have the final say, and that the most popular name in the poll would not necessarily be the one used.
Former BBC Radio Jersey presenter James Hand jokingly suggested RRS "Boaty McBoatface". This quickly became the most popular choice and was the runaway winner when the poll closed, with 124,109 votes. The name has been described as a homage to "Hooty McOwlface", an owl named through an "Adopt-A-Bird" program in 2012 that became popular on the internet.
On 6 May 2016, British science minister Jo Johnson announced that the choice had been made to name the ship after naturalist Sir David Attenborough, but that Boaty McBoatface would be the name of one of David Attenborough's remotely controlled submersibles.
In response to the poll, the Science and Technology Committee, a select committee of the House of Lords, announced that they were to review the process by which the ship was named. NERC chief executive Professor Duncan Wingham and NERC head of communications Julia Maddock faced the committee on 10 May. Professor James Wilsdon, an outreach director at Sheffield University, told MPs that he voted for Boaty McBoatface. Despite the controversy, NERC directors felt that their poll was a successful initiative in that it generated a lot of publicity regarding their organisation and research mission among the lay public.
Other leading choices in the poll were Poppy-Mai, in honour of a toddler with incurable cancer, and Henry Worsley, for a British army officer who died in 2016 while attempting to complete the first solo and unaided crossing of the Antarctic.
Spanish Internet trolls promoted the choice Blas de Lezo, a Spanish admiral who gave a humiliating defeat to the British Royal Navy in 1741. The organisers removed the option, which gathered more than 38,000 votes.
Influence on popular culture
In September 2016, the US Air Force formally named its new stealth bomber currently under development as the Northrop Grumman B-21 "Raider". The name was chosen through a survey of airmen; among the rejected names was "Stealthy McStealthface".
On 22 March 2016 the 0729 South West Trains Portsmouth to Waterloo service was playfully named Trainy McTrainface, and in July 2017 the same name was chosen in an online poll for a new train on the Stockholm-Gothenburg line.
In November 2017, Sydney Ferries allowed the public to name its fleet of Emerald-class ferries for use in Sydney Harbour, Australia through a naming competition. The most popular name was Boaty McBoatface but, as it had already been taken, New South Wales Transport Minister picked Ferry McFerryface out of his personal preference instead. After the Maritime Union of Australia refused to crew the vessel in protest at the name, it entered service named Emerald 6 with a Ferry McFerryface sticker below the bridge, and in January 2018, following revelations that the name wasn't a public vote winner but selected by the minister, it was renamed May Gibbs.
In February 2019, the popular online game Runescape released an update which contained a new weapon named Swordy McSwordFace, which was to be dropped by a mini-boss named Bossy McBossFace
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Yet the runaway winner was RSS Boaty McBoatface, itself an homage to the owl that was named Hooty McOwlface after a similar exercise.
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- Knapton, Sarah (6 May 2016). "'BoatyMcBoatface' to live on as yellow submarine, science minister Jo Johnson announces". The Telegraph. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
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The author, Mr Jackson, wrote: ... "Wouldn’t it be great if Sir David changed his name to Sir Boaty McBoatface in the interest of democracy and humour?".
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- Ferry McFerryface wasn't public pick for new ferry name until Andrew Constance's captain's pick Daily Telegraph 30 January 2018