After a long season in Antarctica, Falkland Islands' flagged exploration ship RRS Sir David Attenborough has docked in Belfast for the first time, to pick up new crew members ahead of carrying out further scientific studies around the UK coastline. The state of the art vessel is owned by the Natural Environment Research Council and operated by the British Antarctic Survey.
The ship is named after the TV naturalist and BBC presenter Sir David Attenborough. The vessel has been carrying out trials in the Antarctic, testing sea ice and looking at the effects of climate change. It is a remarkable ship and is scheduled to set off for Denmark.
Dr Sophie Fielding is one of the scientists on board. Her specialty is krill, tiny sea creatures which are an important food source for the marine life cycle. .
She says the new ship has given experts a much greater opportunity for collaborative science to improve our understanding of climate change. In particular, teams are interested in how microscopic plant life can help remove atmospheric carbon and store it deep under the ocean.
The ship is big, modern and comfortable. The crew have already seen some wonderful sights on their maiden voyage.
One crew member reported seeing a pod of Orcas swim by as she sat in the canteen eating her breakfast.
All mod cons are on board, including a bar. But as it is a working ship alcohol consumption is strictly regulated. There is a two drink rule any night the bar is opened, and it is wine and beer only, spirits are not served.
Named after the TV naturalist and BBC presenter Sir David, the public wanted to call the ship Boaty McBoatface in an online poll but in the end the name was instead given to one of its robotic submersibles.