Britain’s new polar research ship, RRS Sir David Attenborough, is centre-stage in a new gallery, ‘Poles Apart’, which opened at the Royal Museums Greenwich National Maritime Museum. The exhibition serves as a lasting reminder of the RRS Sir David Attenborough visit to Greenwich in October 2021, ahead of the UN Climate Conference held in Glasgow, and of the contribution the ship will make over its 30-year career to climate science.
‘Poles Apart’ allows visitors to explore the world of the state-of-the-art research ship, and aims to shine a light on the challenges affecting our polar regions, and the people striving to make sense of them. The exhibition highlights the ship’s scientific capabilities and gives an insight into life on board, with interviews with some of the crew members and films of the ship at work.
The gallery opened as part of the Museum’s World Oceans Day celebrations, an international occasion to celebrate the ocean and raise awareness of how we depend on it for our survival. RRS Sir David Attenborough will play a critical role in improving our knowledge of the polar oceans, and how they affect our climate.
The opening included a wealth of activities for families, including a sea shanty performance and a live call to the ship, with Captain Matthew Neil.
Elen Jones, Director of the Antarctic Infrastructure Modernization Program said: “It was an honor to be part of the opening of this gallery, and to continue our partnership with Royal Museums Greenwich. The RRS Sir David Attenborough is such an incredible ship and I’m so pleased this gallery will give people a taste of what its like to live and work on board! I hope this exhibition will inspire the next generation of ocean and climate scientists”
RRS Sir David Attenborough returned to UK at mid June after completing its landmark maiden voyage to Antarctica. The ship departed the UK in November last year, and has spent the past eight months in Antarctica. The ship’s first season saw it complete ice trials, conduct first science tasks and transport people and cargo to four of British Antarctic Survey’s research stations.
The ship departed the Falkland Islands in May, and has spent the past four weeks sailing North to the UK. This included a four-day stop off the coast of Madeira where the crew conducted initial winch trials. Over the boreal summer the ship will conduct further winch trials and Sea Acceptance Tests around the UK, and will spend time in refit, preparing the ship for the next season South.
Captain Matthew Neill, who led the ship on its journey back to the UK, said: “It’s been amazing to sail the ship in Antarctica – we had a challenging but great first season, and the ship really feels like home now. Sailing into the UK, where the ship always has such a warm welcome, is really special and it makes the whole crew feel very proud to be custodians of this incredible ship.”
The ship returns to Antarctica in December 2022.
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