Houlder has played a key role in the development of the UK’s new polar research vessel, RRS Sir David Attenborough since it was first conceived by the British Antarctic Survey. CEO Rupert Hare joined members of the project team as hull number 1390, comprising 10,000t of steel, is launched at Cammell Laird Shipyard. ‘Splashdown’, July 14th.
As experts in ship construction, and ice class design in particular, Houlder worked with the British Antarctic Survey and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) initially through the vessel’s concept design and technical specification. The company went on to provide technical support to the procurement process that selected Rolls Royce and Cammell Laird as designer and constructor respectively. Since then, Houlder has provided shipyard supervision and client representation services through its technical support contract. Providing third-party assurance during construction is a role Houlder often undertakes to provide design continuity for owners and operators.
For Houlder Naval Architects Chris Bell (pictured below, right) and Rosa Vilariño, this has meant rotating a permanent on-site role at Cammell Laird. David Pugh and Jonathan Hammond (Principal Marine Engineers), Sean Hogarth (Construction Supervisor) and Mike Simpson (Marine Design Consultancy Technical Director) have also played key technical and management roles. They have been joined by a range of specialists from Houlder during the project. These include marine engineers, hull inspectors, electrical engineers and works supervisors. Houlder has also deployed its personnel further afield, to Norway and Vietnam. for example, to test and accept major equipment from the wider supply chain.
Houlder Chief Executive Officer, Rupert Hare explains “The Houlder team has been acting as technical advisor and ‘customer friend’ at each stage of delivery. This will go on as the build continues through the addition of the ship superstructure, fit-out, harbour and sea trials and, finally, the warranty phases of activity. Given the scale and ambition of the RRS Sir David Attenborough project, it is a role we are incredibly proud to fulfil.“
Cammell Laird CEO, John Syvret CBE, adds:
“The launch of the RRS Sir David Attenborough is a really important milestone in the build programme, and it is a great day for the Cammell Laird team. We have said that this Cammell Laird generation is proud of its heritage and is determined make its own history, and the launch of Sir David Attenborough Polar Research Ship underpins this commitment and ambition. I want to thank NERC, British Antarctic Survey, Rolls Royce, Lloyds Register, Houlder and the entire supply chain for their commitment and support. This is one team, ‘team UK’ working in partnership to deliver a unique ship with unique capabilities and capacity. “
The 129m RRS Sir David Attenborough is a multi-purpose vessel combining cutting-edge scientific research with Antarctic base supply duties. Facilities onboard include a 4x4m clear opening moonpool to deploy subsea equipment, 650m deck space and an enclosed science hangar to house containerised laboratories. Designed to IACS Polar Class PC4 rules, the ship will be able to break 1m thick Ice at up to 3 knots. The diesel / electric propulsion has been carefully selected to have ultra-low environmental impact including careful management of all emissions and noise.
Special guest Sir David Attenborough says:
“Britain began exploring the Antarctic over a century ago when it seemed to be an empty wilderness of little importance to the world as a whole. Now we recognise that what happens at the Poles is of the greatest importance to everyone, everywhere.
The UK and the British Antarctic Survey have been making discoveries in both regions that enable us to better understand these global processes and this wonderful new research ship will enable British scientists to continue their crucial work in both the Arctic and Antarctic for decades to come.”
Once in the river Mersey, tugs will tow hull number 1390 to Cammell Laird’s wet basin for the next stages of construction. The polar research ship is scheduled to come into operation in 2019.