Cammell Laird appoints Rolls-Royce to design and equip research vessel RRS Sir David Attenborough
Cammell Laird has selected a Rolls-Royce design for the UK’s future polar research ship, which, when built, will be one of the most advanced scientific maritime vessels ever constructed. Rolls-Royce will also supply machinery and equipment for the vessel in a deal worth £30 million, the company said in its press release.
The 128 metre long ship, which will be named RRS Sir David Attenborough, will be built at the massive modular construction hall at Cammell Laird’s site in Birkenhead on Merseyside. Cammell Laird, which offers a wide range of marine and heavy engineering services including shipbuilding, beat off competition from around the world, to win the deal and keep the work in the UK.
The New Polar Research Vessel (NPRV) is being commissioned by the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) for operation by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).This £200 million Government investment secures the UK’s position as a world leader in polar research and provides a major boost to shipbuilding in the North West. The project is the biggest commercial shipbuilding contract in Britain and one of the biggest for more than a generation. The ship’s purpose, when it enters service in 2019, will be to carry out oceanographic and other scientific work in both the Antarctic and Arctic as well as transporting supplies to Antarctic research stations.
Cammell Laird’s requirements for Rolls-Royce to meet when designing the vessel included: Polar Code 4 ice class, a high endurance factor, with the capacity to be self-sufficient in fuel and supplies on voyages up to 19,000 nautical miles, space for a total of 90 people and a large cargo capacity. The vessel is also designed to generate very low levels of underwater radiated noise and minimise the risk of pollution. Onboard laboratories will allow the prompt analysis of samples.
Rolls-Royce will provide Cammell Laird with the diesel electric propulsion system powered by the new Bergen B33:45 engines (two nine cylinder and two six cylinder engines) and equipped with two Rolls-Royce 4.5m diameter Rolls-Royce Controllable Pitch Propellers (CPP). The powerful, efficient and compact engines and strong propellers will be able to push the vessel through approximately one metre thick level ice with extremely low underwater radiated noise, avoiding interference with survey equipment or disturbing marine mammals and fish shoals.
Rolls-Royce deck handling systems will support a wide range of tasks. These include, for example, towing scientific equipment for subsea acoustic survey equipment using up to 12,000m of wire, or deploying equipment over the side or through a moonpool to collect seawater and seabed samples at depths of up to 9,000m.
In its supply vessel mode the UT 851 PRV will be able to transport fuels and containerised cargo. It will also have a helideck with the capacity to operate two helicopters.
One of the reasons Cammell Laird appointed Rolls Royce was its experience gained designing the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research’s polar research vessel currently under construction in Italy.