Rolls-Royce designs and equips new U.K. polar ship

Name on bow reads RRS Sir Richard Attenborough (not Boaty McBoatface) Name on bow reads RRS Sir Richard Attenborough (not Boaty McBoatface)

MAY 9, 2016 — The new polar research vessel under construction for the U.K.'s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) at the Cammell Laird shipyard on Merseyside is being built to a Rolls-Royce UT 851 design and will be fitted with an range of Rolls-Royce machinery and equipment.

To be named RRS Sir Richard Attenborough (though it is likely to be forever known as Boaty McBoatface) the 128 m vessel has been designed to meet requirements that included Polar Code 4 ice class, the capacity to be self-sufficient in fuel and supplies on voyages up to 19,000 nautical miles, space for a total of 90 people and a large cargo capacity.

The vessel is also designed to generate very low levels of underwater radiated noise and minimize the risk of pollution. Onboard laboratories will allow the prompt analysis of samples.

Rolls-Royce will provide the vesel's diesel electric propulsion system powered by the new Bergen B33:45 engines (two nine cylinder and two six cylinder engines) and equipped with two Rolls-Royce 4.5 m diameter Rolls-Royce Controllable Pitch Propellers (CPP) able to push the vessel through approximately one meter thick  with extremely low underwater radiated noise, avoiding interference with survey equipment or disturbing marine mammals and fish shoals.

Jørn Heltne, Rolls-Royce, Senior Vice President for Sales in Ship Design & Systems, said: "A key part of our extensive delivery for Cammell Laird included in this vessel will be the automation and control systems, including our Dynamic Positioning system and the award winning Unified Bridge. This will provide the crew with the most advanced and innovative working conditions and operator tools on a vessel bridge today."

Rolls-Royce deck handling systems will support a wide range of tasks. These include, for example, towing scientific equipment for subsea acoustic survey equipment using up to 12,000m of wire, or deploying equipment over the side or through a moonpool to collect seawater and seabed samples at depths of up to 9,000m.

In its supply vessel mode the UT 851 PRV will be able to transport fuels and containerised cargo. It will also have a helideck with the capacity to operate two helicopters.

One of the reasons Cammell Laird appointed Rolls Royce was its experience gained designing the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research’s polar research vessel currently under construction in Italy.

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