HRH The Princess Royal names new scientific research ship
5 February 2007
A new £40m royal research ship, the RRS James Cook, is formally named this week by HRH The Princess Royal. The naming ceremony will be held at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton on Tuesday 6 February.
Photograph: RRS James Cook in dock at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. A high resolution photo of this image is available to download (JPG, 203KB).
The RRS James Cook is the latest addition to the Natural Environment Research Council's fleet of oceanographic research ships.
Professor Alan Thorpe, NERC's Chief Executive, said, "With oceans covering around three quarters of the Earth, ships like these are vital for the research community. They can reach places that would otherwise be impossible to explore. They allow us to discover micro-organisms that could, for example, be used to develop new antibiotics. And they help us to monitor and understand changes in the oceans that affect temperature and climate."
The new ship will carry scientists to some of the Earth's most challenging environments, from tropical oceans to the edge of the ice sheets. It has been designed as a world-class multidisciplinary science platform that allows for investigations using sophisticated and precisely targeted instruments, such as deep sea remotely operated vehicles.
The RRS James Cook is multi-functional, can carry large scientific parties and is highly flexible in the use of deck and laboratory space. It can operate in tropical regions and at the edge of the ice-sheets without compromising any performance capabilities.
Professor Thorpe said, "Her first voyage will be to the Mid Atlantic Ridge, a massive underwater mountain range, where advanced technology will keep the ship stationary while instruments are deployed to capture information about how the Earth's crust is formed."
Since being delivered in August 2006, the RRS James Cook has undergone a programme of extensive sea trials to confirm its safety and performance at sea. The ship sails to the Mid Atlantic in early March.
NERC Press Office
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1. The RRS James Cook is managed by NERC's National Marine Facilities Division, based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. The ship is operated by professional mariners who provide a working platform and practical assistance to the scientists.
2. The ship was built by Norwegian shipbuilder Flekkefjord Slipp & Maskinfabrikk AS. The shipyard has extensive experience in building research vessels, offshore vessels and sophisticated fishing vessels. In 2003 the yard delivered the new "G O Sars" the flag vessel of the Institute of Marine Research, Norway. It delivered the RRS James Cook to NERC in August 2006, on time and within budget.
3. The design for the RRS James Cook was developed by Norwegian design company Skipsteknisk AS, a leader in the design of sophisticated research vessels.
4. The Natural Environment Research Council funds world-class science, in universities and its own research centres, that increases knowledge and understanding of the natural world. NERC is tackling the 21st century's major environmental issues such as climate change, biodiversity and natural hazards. It leads in providing independent research and training in the environmental sciences.
5. The National Oceanography Centre, Southampton is a joint venture between the Natural Environment Research Council and the University of Southampton. The Centre is the national focus for oceanography in the UK with a remit to achieve scientific excellence as one of the world's top five oceanographic research institutions
Press release: 6/07
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