UK To Build Advanced Polar Research Ship
The UK has been at the forefront of polar research for decades now and prides itself on being a leading light in this field. This claim has recently been strengthened by the decision to grant a UK bid to build a state-of-the-art research vessel in a competition that also saw entries from countries such as Spain, South Korea and Singapore.
Construction of the vessel, which will cost in the region of £200 million pounds, is not due to start until 2016 and the project is scheduled to be completed in 2019. It will allow Britain to continue its important work in the world’s icy waters and continue to develop its understanding of things such as ice levels, climate change and effects on our own weather.
The company behind the build is Merseyside-based Cammell Laird. This British shipbuilding powerhouse, located in Birkenhead, is a world renowned name in the industry and the perfect choice for such an important undertaking. It is hoped that the project will create around 500 jobs in the local area, as well as providing an influx in activity and interest for a vital vocation in the north-west.
The ship itself will have a number of features that will help to make it one of the most technologically advanced polar research ships in the world. It will be able to carry up to 60 scientists and will travel to both the Arctic and Antarctic regions. An ice-strengthened hull will allow it to cut through ice of up to a metre thick and it will be able to stay trapped within floes for up to 60 days. Along with the onboard laboratories, there will also be robotic submarines that can be launched into the icy depths and a helipad to aid in getting information on and off the ship.
Perhaps the most interesting feature, though, will be the ship’s moon pool. This is an opening in the bottom of the hull which allows access to the sea without having to go out on deck. This means that research equipment can be used in all weather, the submersible crafts can gain easy access to the ship and the scientists can work in increased comfort.
Once completed, the vessel will be under the operation of the British Antarctic Survey and one of its first jobs will be to take supplies to the five UK research stations situated on Antarctica.
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