The Week - Junior

Research ship named after Sir David


Ahuge research ship that will give scientists new access to the Antarctic and Arctic has officially been named at a ceremony on the River Mersey, in north-west England. The RRS Sir David Attenborou­gh, which has taken three years to build, is among the most advanced ships of its kind. It has been named in honour of the famous broadcaste­r and naturalist (an expert in the natural world).

The naming ceremony was held at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead on 26 September. The title RRS stands for Royal Research Ship, and the new craft will replace the James Clark Ross and the Ernest Shackleton as the UK’s official polar research ship.

The vessel is 130 metres long and weighs 15,000 tonnes, and is the largest commercial (non-military) ship to be built in the UK for 30 years. The RRS Sir David Attenborou­gh will have an important role in investigat­ing the impact of climate change, the long-term changes in global temperatur­es that are mainly caused by humans. Scientists will be able to use the ship as a base when they study the effects of climate change in the Arctic and Antarctic. Using on-board robotic technology, they will also be able to access hard-to-reach parts of the ocean to conduct their research.

In an online poll held in 2016, the public voted to call the ship Boaty McBoatface, but the Government decided it should be named after Sir David Attenborou­gh. A small submarine carried by the ship has been called Boaty McBoatface instead. Thousands of people watched as the Duchess of Cambridge smashed a bottle of champagne against the ship – a tradition to bring a ship good luck. Introducin­g the real Sir David Attenborou­gh, the Duke of Cambridge said, “There has never been a more important moment for this ship to get to work, and there is no person more fitting for this beacon of scientific research to be named after than you, David.”

Attenborou­gh responded, “This astonishin­g ship... will find the science with which to deal with the problems that are facing the world today and will increasing­ly do so tomorrow.”

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The Sir David Attenborou­gh.
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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Sir David.

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