LR certification for eco-friendly polar research ship

The new polar research ship RSS Sir David Attenborough – the  UK’s largest commercial newbuild for over 30 years – has been formally presented with Lloyd’s Register (LR) certification after a four-year-long construction period.

The vessel, which has been delivered to Natural Environment Research Council and British Antarctic Survey (BAS) by Cammell Laird Shipbuilders, will undertake vital research in the polar regions. It has been designed to operate in extreme environments and features a wide range of specialist facilities, instruments and laboratories which will enable scientists to study the ocean, seafloor, ice and atmosphere.

As previously reported, the RRS Sir David Attenborough is the first ship built in the UK that conforms to environmental regulations that are part of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Polar Code.

The vessel has four main engines built by Rolls Royce, which the BAS said are designed to operate on ultra low sulphur fuel (ULSFO), and their exhausts are fitted with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) units.

A small harbour generator is installed, allowing the vessel to operate when in port without the main engines idling.

The hybrid electrical system – which incorporates ‘large capacity batteries’ – will allow the vessel to operate on a single main engine where otherwise two engines would be needed.

The ship’s heating system is also designed to save power, as waste heat from the engines is recycled to heat water and keep the ship’s temperature at an optimum.

The panelling around the RRS Sir David Attenborough’s hull has been laid internally to produce a smooth hull without steps, which will reduce friction and further increase the ship’s fuel efficiency.

In a statement issued today (1 March), LR’s Marine & Offshore Service Delivery Manager for UK&I, Mike Williams, said: ‘The delivery of RRS Sir David Attenborough marks an important milestone for UK commercial shipbuilding, demonstrating the industry’s commitment to innovation and sustainability. We’re delighted to have worked with Cammell Laird Shipbuilders on this state of the art vessel which highlights LR’s technical experience and expertise.’

LR added: ’The vessel is expected to commence polar operations in 2021 after a period of intensive mariner training, testing and trialling the many technical, scientific and operational features and capabilities.’

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Ian Taylor