RRS Sir David Attenborough arrives in Robin Hood's Bay

Royal Research Ship Sir David Attenborough has arrived in Robin Hood's Bay on its way to Denmark

By Louise Perrin
Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 5:29 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 5:44 pm
Matthew Neill on the Bridge- Pic: Rich Turner, BAS
Matthew Neill on the Bridge- Pic: Rich Turner, BAS

RRS Sir David Attenborough will be on the Yorkshire Coast until August 9, conducting various tests and trials, before heading across the North Sea to Denmark.

The sea trials are an important part of the preparations for the ship’s first Antarctic mission.

The ship has been in dry dock at Cammell Laird shipyard since March to enable engineers to carry out technical fixes and refinements identified during the first round of trials, as well as commissioning new scientific equipment in the ship’s hull and laboratories.

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Sir David Attenborough Sea Trials - pic: Rich Turner, BAS

The Sir David Attenborough (SDA) is operated by two crews who alternate every two and a half months to ensure that all SDA mariners are able to complete on board training and gain experience in operating the state-of-the-art ship before the ship begins her first mission.

The RRS Sir David Attenborough has state-of-the-art acoustic systems to map and create images of the depth and shape of large areas of the seafloor. Nine scientific winches, with a combined 61,000m of cable, are used to deploy scientific equipment to investigate the Southern Ocean’s unique ecosystems.

Captained by John Harper, the SDA has carried out a number of tests over the last few weeks including harbour acceptance trials on acoustic systems and sea acceptance trials on winches.

After finishing its latest round of trials, the ship will sail to a specialist shipyard in Denmark for final technical checks and fitting out in readiness for the first mission to Antarctica.

The Sir David Attenborough - pic: Steve Sproul

Captain Harper said: “The SDA is an incredible piece of engineering. There are literally thousands of pieces of equipment, electrical cabling, and science gear that need to be commissioned and tested.

"Both crews need to be thoroughly familiar and trained to operate the ship in calm and rough seas. The excitement is mounting as we approach the time when the ship will be fully operational and ready for polar missions.”

Sir David Attenborough speaking at the launch of the UK-hosted COP26 UN Climate Summit - Photo by Jeremy Selwyn - WPA Pool/Getty Images