#BoatyMcBoatface - Sir David Attenborough along with more than 1,000 people attended the keel-laying ceremony of a new £150m polar research vessel at a UK shipyard yesterday.
Construction of RSS Sir David Attenborough was officially started by the world-renowned naturalist and broadcaster, after whom the ship is named. Noting earlier this year the public through an online poll originally had chosen a different name 'Boaty McBoatface' as a clear favourite that proved controversial. The newbuild's robotic underwater vehicle will however be named 'Boaty McBoatface'.
At the ceremonial event at Cammell Laird's shipyard site, Birkenhead in Liverpool City Region, Sir David started the “keel laying” process by initiating the lifting by crane of the first hull unit on to the construction berth. This unit, weighing around 100 tonnes, includes part of the ship’s keel and is the first of 97 units which will be erected to form the entire hull of the research ship.
When the ship sets sail in 2019, the RRS Sir David Attenborough will provide a research base to help scientists tackle some of the most important issues facing humanity, including climate change, future sea level rise and the impact of environmental change on marine life.
Speaking at the ceremony Sir David Attenborough said: “It is an honour to be invited to take part in the keel-laying ceremony. The Polar Regions are not only critical for understanding the natural world but they also have an enormous appeal for journalists, broadcasters and the public.
“I have had several opportunities to experience the power of these places first hand. This new ship will ensure that scientists have access to these enigmatic regions to uncover secrets that we can only imagine at this point. Scientists working on this new ship will inform everyone about our changing world for generations to come.”