Updated 3rd May 2020

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Once again it has been a few months since the last update,  and much has happened in that time.  With the Coronavirus outbreak and the lockdown by the UK Government,  it has meant that much of the work on the RRS Sir David Attenborough has had to stop as it is not possible to work to safe distancing guidelines.  However,  the SDA Officers and Crew are currently working normally,  but from home.  Whilst this may sound odd,  a lot of the work that we have been doing is background paperwork,  writing procedures for operating the ship,  preparing Risk Assessments for the work that will be carried out once operational and sorting out a planned maintenance system.  Zoom is our new way of holding meetings and keeping in touch with each other.

This is the most recent picture I have of the ship alongside in Birkenhead,  taken on a fine clear day in February.

There are a number of watertight doors located throughout the ship and these are kept closed when at sea,  only opened to allow passage between compartments.  The doors are hydraulically operated but there is the option of manual operation,  should it be required. This is looking from the Garbage Room through to the Incinerator Room.

  Park Avenue is the main alleyway on Deck 3 and runs from just forward of the Moonpool and gives access to many of the labs and some of the scientific accommodation.  It is nice and wide,  much better than the equivalent alleyway on the JCR,  which means moving equipment around should be a lot easier.  Also from this alleyway it will be possible to easily access one of the coffee shops (please to say that payment will not be required),  so those working out on deck or in the labs can easily get refreshments.

Also located on Deck 3 forward of the scientist accommodation is their laundry.  There are a number of laundries dotted around the ship,  with three similar to this to serve the scientists,  officers and crew.  In addition there is a larger main laundry,  which will be used for such things as bedding,  and then one down below for the engineers.

The Main Lab is taking shape.  It is a large space and this will allow for more complex experiments to be carried out.  At the time of writing it is a couple of months since I was last on board and so there will be changes in that time,  throughout the ship.

Up forward the Forecastle Stores (also known as the Deck Stores) is being fitted out with shelving.

Moving up a few decks to Deck 5,  this is where the Galley,  Mess and Lounges are located.  This picture shows the bar area, and as with all the open spaces on Deck 5,  large panoramic windows are fitted.  This not only lets in a lot of light but will also afford fantastic views,  whether of ice covered or rough seas.  The dining area (mess) is located on the Port side of the ship and the lounges are all on the Starboard.

The Principle Scientific Officer (PSO) is normally the lead scientist on a cruise and has the role of organising everything related to the cruise,  from the initial planning to the day to day running once on board.  The PSO has a lovely cabin on Deck 6,  with views out to Starboard and also aft.  One of the great advantages of the way the ship will be configured is that it should be possible to keep an eye on what is happening from almost anywhere as much of the data and CCTV system will be available over the local network.

Meanwhile up on Deck 7,  my cabin is almost complete.  The standard of cabins is very good,  with comfortable furniture and fittings.  All cabins on board are ensuite and will have WiFi (although this will be restricted for mobile phones and tablets due to the high data demands of these with updates),  telephone (with full access to the outside world) and a TV,  which hopefully should be available most of the time for UK broadcasts.   All the windows are sealed and can't be opened. This should improve the ability to control the temperature of the ship more efficiently and for when it does get cold outside there is additional heating available in the cabins.

The Chief Engineer as a nice spacious cabin as this will also serve as his office and be where he will spend much of his time.  It is a nice bright space.

All the external stairways have heated handrails and steps.  This picture shows one such stairway and it is possible to see the system used,  a tray with heating element is placed beneath each step.  This stops the stairways freezing and so reduces the risk to all on board whilst working outside.

The lockdown will have a knock on effect to the build of the ship but both BAS and Cammell Laird are working hard to try and mitigate the situation.  I am unsure when I will be back in Liverpool and Birkenhead, and so am unsure of when the next update will be.  Keep an eye on my Twitter feed (which is shown below and you don't need an account to view) for the latest updates.  In the meantime stay safe and well.




Please click here to view previous updates.

Click here for the SDA Image Archive