UK’s new polar research ship, the RRS Sir David Attenborough, was launched on Saturday at the Cammell Laird’s shipyard.
The 129-metre long, 10,000 tonne hull of the RRS Sir David Attenborough was launched into the River Mersey for the first time. Once in the river, tugs towed hull number 1390 to Cammell Laird’s wet basin for the next stages of construction.
The polar research ship, scheduled to come into operation in 2019, is commissioned by the Natural Environment Research Council (part of UK Research and Innovation), built by Cammell Laird and will be operated by British Antarctic Survey.
Shipyard workers, engineers, scientists and maritime industry experts gathered with special guest speakers, including world-renowned broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, to celebrate the launch, the company noted.
Special guest Sir David Attenborough said: “Britain began exploring the Antarctic over a century ago when it seemed to be an empty wilderness of little importance to the world as a whole. Now we recognize that what happens at the Poles is of the greatest importance to everyone, everywhere.
“The UK and the British Antarctic Survey have been making discoveries in both regions that enable us to better understand these global processes and this wonderful new research ship will enable British scientists to continue their crucial work in both the Arctic and Antarctic for decades to come.”
Cammell Laird CEO John Syvret CBE, added: “The launch of the RRS Sir David Attenborough is a really important milestone in the build programme, and it is a great day for the Cammell Laird team. We have said that this Cammell Laird generation is proud of its heritage and is determined make its own history, and the launch of Sir David Attenborough polar research ship underpins this commitment and ambition.
“I want to thank NERC, British Antarctic Survey, Rolls Royce, Lloyds Register, Houlder Offshore and the entire supply chain for their commitment and support. This is one team, ‘team UK’ working in partnership to deliver a unique ship with unique capabilities and capacity. I also want to thank our workforce and their families as well as Wirral Borough Council, the Rt Hon Frank Field and all in the community who have supported Cammell Laird on our journey to date. We are now back in the premier league of the shipbuilding world, it has been a herculean effort by all to get here, this launch raises the brand profile and as a result provides increased global recognition, which bodes well for the future.”