A new milestone has been reached in the building of the new polar research ship for Britain, the RRS Sir David Attenborough, as the ‘stern section’ is transported by barge from Hebburn-based shipyard A&P Tyne to the Cammell Laird’s shipyard in Birkenhead.
Commissioned by NERC and built by Cammell Laird Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders, the vessel is a Rolls-Royce design, and will be operated by British Antarctic Survey when it enters service in 2019.
The transportation which takes place this week is of the 899 tonne steel block (known as block 10) which is more than 23 meters long and 24 meters wide.
Block 10 will be loaded onto a barge using self-propelled modular trailers. It is a complex operation involving hydraulic ballast pumps to keep the barge level while the heavy load moves onto it from the slipway. ALE is responsible for loading the stern section onto a barge.
Departure time depends on tides and weather conditions but is expected to take place on Monday, the company said. ALE will secure the block by specially-designed sea-fastenings during its transit to Cammell Laird which may take up to five days.
On arrival at the Birkenhead yard, ALE will perform the ‘load-in’ process using the same SPMT configuration.
Once securely ashore work will begin on joining Block 10 to its neighbouring blocks under construction in Cammell Laird’s construction hall, the company explained.