RRS Sir David Attenborough (SDA) has collaborated with the cruise ship Le Commandant Charcot in its efforts to deliver critical science cargo to the English Coast, Antarctica in support of the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration.
Britain’s new polar research ship has spent the past week breaking ice to reach Stange Sound on the English Coast. The RRS Sir David Attenborough can break through 1-metre thick ice at a speed of three knots (5.6km/h). Local sea ice conditions are currently particularly difficult, with second-year sea ice covered in a thick layer of snow.
The Le Commandant Charcot is a PC2 Polar Class ship and can break through 2.5-metre thick ice at a speed of three knots. It is currently in the same area as the SDA. The ship created a channel for the RRS Sir David Attenborough to sail through, before sailing to its next destination. The sea ice conditions close to the drop off point were even more unfavorable so, after some deliberation, the RRS Sir David Attenborough turned around. The ship is now seeking an alternative drop-off location, approximately 150 nautical miles further round the English Coast.
Dave Wattam, Head of Polar Operations at British Antarctic Survey said: “This joint exercise highlights the value and importance of collaboration and cooperation in Antarctica, where conditions are often changeable and demanding. The sea ice conditions around the English Coast are extremely challenging this year, and it’s great to work with the Le Commandant Charcot to remain on schedule”.
The Antarctic Treaty recognizes tourism as a legitimate activity in Antarctica. All visitors to Antarctica are required to comply with laws and regulations that implement the Antarctic Treaty system and the Protocol on Environmental Protection.
See: International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration.