UK and Australian new polar research ships rendezvous on sea trials

British Antarctic Survey

The UK and Australia’s two new polar research ships got together off the coast of Falmouth this week (18 July 2021) during sea trials in preparations for their first Antarctic missions.

The state-of-the-art RRS Sir David Attenborough and RSV Nuyina will enable scientists to understand changes in our planet’s climate, oceans and marine life.

Two large red research ships in the ocean
RSV Nuyina and RRS Sir David Attenborough rendezvous off the coast of Falmouth

RRS Sir David Attenborough, commissioned by NERC, built by Cammell Laird for operation by British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is carrying out Sea Acceptance Tests on some of its nine scientific winches, With a combined 61,000m of cable for deploying and retrieving scientific equipment, the winches are essential for launching marine robotics and oceanographic equipment. Captained by John Harper, the crew is completing on board training and gaining experience in operating the ship.

RSV Nuyina, commissioned by the Australian Government, and built in Romania for the Australian Antarctic Division travelled to the Netherlands in 2020 to begin sea trials. It is now undergoing trials off the coast of East Anglia.

The Australian Antarctic Division and British Antarctic Survey have a long history of collaboration, including the Antarctica’s Gamburtsev Province Project to map Subglacial Mountains beneath the ice sheet in the centre of East Antarctica.

Professor Dame Jane Francis said:

“This is such an exciting stage of the commissioning of both the UK and Australia’s new polar ships. To be able to meet up and celebrate the achievements of the ship’s so far was a great opportunity and we look forward to collaborating in the future.”

Two large red research ships in the ocean
RSV Nuyina and RRS Sir David Attenborough rendezvous off the coast of Falmouth

Both RRS Sir David Attenborough and RSV Nuyina are expected to carry out their first Antarctic missions in the upcoming 2021/22 season.

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