Farewell to Royal Research Ship
9 June 2006
RRS Charles Darwin makes her final voyage as a royal research vessel on Monday, 12 June 2006.
RRS Charles Darwin's arrival at the National Oceanography Centre, marks the end of an era. She has performed 180 research cruises throughout her 21 years of service as a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) ship. She is being taken out of service to make way for a new research ship, RRS James Cook, which arrives at the end of the summer.
The research vessels are operated by the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton on behalf of the owners, NERC.
RRS Charles Darwin has clocked up a formidable 787,000 nautical miles - equivalent to travelling 32 times around the world.
Built by Appledore Ship Builders in North Devon, the 69 metre long multi-purpose ship has undertaken a wide range of scientific operations with her complement of 18 scientific and technical staff and 22 officers and crew. She has operated on a worldwide basis since delivery, including a three-year 'Around the World' scientific cruise between 1986 and 1989.
RRS Charles Darwin's first cruise in 1985 was led by Professor John Gould working in the Northeast Atlantic. The work he was doing then has led to an international project that monitors the oceans from space called Argo. Satellites are used to track some 3000 floats that give readings of temperature and speeds of ocean currents around the world. Her final cruise will be a geophysical survey exercise led by Dr Dave Smith of the British Geological Survey.
Among the many research programmes involving RRS Charles Darwin, has been the research of rapid climate change. Researchers from the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton have been investigating the slowing down of the Gulf Stream which, in turn, could lead to a cooling of western Europe's climate by several degrees.
National Oceanography Centre, Southampton
Tel: 023 8059 6170
NERC Press Office
Natural Environment Research Council
Polaris House, North Star Avenue
Swindon, SN2 1EU
Tel: 01793 411561
Mob: 07917 557215
1. RRS Charles Darwin is scheduled to arrive in the
National Oceanography Centre, Southampton's
Empress Dock at 09:00 Monday, 12 June 2006.
Journalists wishing to attend the event should
contact NOCS Press Office on 023 8059 6100.
2. For more information about the Natural
Environment Research Council's fleet of ships
contact Sheila Anderson on 0786 7553053.
3. RRS Charles Darwin and RRS Discovery are operated
by National Oceanography Centre, Southampton's
National Marine Facilities Division Research Ship
Unit on behalf of NERC.
4. RRS James Cook is due to begin sea trials in June
prior to being delivered to Southampton at the
end of the summer. The new ship represents a £36m
investment by her owners, NERC. For more
details see the RRS James Cook web page.
6. For further information on the RAPID climate change research visit RAPID programme web pages on the NOCS website.
Press release: 35/06
Recent press news
- Older males make better fathers says new research on beetles
- Origins of 'The Hoff' crab revealed
- Treating infection may have sting in the tail, parasite study shows
- Current affairs make life hard for stickleback dads
- New appointments to NERC Council
- Funding to help understand soil's key role in Global Food Security
- NERC air quality research shown in parliament
- Billion-year-old water could hold clues to life on Earth and Mars
- New Director of Science for NERC
- Plants use underground networks to warn of enemy attack