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Sir David Attenborough Lays Keel for New £150m Polar Research Ship

18th October 2016
Sir David Attenborough and Cammel Laird CEO John Syvret with a model of the £150m polar research vessel. The famous naturalist and broadcaster attended a keel-laying ceremony of the Sir David Attenborough at a UK shipyard yesterday   Sir David Attenborough and Cammel Laird CEO John Syvret with a model of the £150m polar research vessel. The famous naturalist and broadcaster attended a keel-laying ceremony of the Sir David Attenborough at a UK shipyard yesterday Photo: Cammell Laird

#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.”

 

 

Published in Marine Science
Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.

 

At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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