Britain’s new polar ship, the Sir David Attenborough, set for sea trials

The ship will undergo ice trials in the Arctic before heading to Antarctica next fall.

By Reuters - October 21, 2020

BIRKENHEAD, England — Britain’s new polar ship, the Sir David Attenborough, will leave for sea trials on Wednesday to be put through its paces before making its maiden voyage to Antarctica late next year to boost research into climate change.

The 200 million pound, state-of-the-art, polar research vessel gained notoriety in 2016 when “Boaty McBoatface” topped a public poll for the name of the new ship.

But the government decided instead to name it after the veteran BBC naturalist David Attenborough, and the RRS (Royal Research Ship) Sir David Attenborough is now ready to leave its wet dock in Birkenhead in northwest England.

It will spend two weeks at sea off the coast of North Wales for technical trials before the shipyard formally hands it over.

The British Antarctic Survey will operate the ship, carrying out ice trials in the Arctic in early 2021 before it journeys to the Antarctic next November, where the BAS say it will transform U.K. research in polar regions.

“This magnificent ship will take U.K. scientists deep into the heart of the ice-covered polar seas,” BAS director Jane Francis said in a statement on Wednesday.

“As we seek to find answers to the current climate crisis, this ship will take us to the ends of the Earth to seek answers and to help us understand our future world.”

Reporting by Jason Cairnduff; writing by Sarah Young.