Updated 7th December 2018

Welcome to the first RRS Sir David Attenborough, SDA, update page. Having transferred from the RRS James Clark Ross I started working on the SDA build on 3rd December 2018.

The first update,  written on my first day and somewhat brief,  can be found HERE

This,  second,  update,  is written at the end of my first week and I hope will give you an idea of what my role in the completion of the British Antarctic Survey's New Polar Ship is.  For those of you who think that I am busy with a welding set,  running hundreds of miles of cables (from very small data through to the larger cables used for the transmission of power),  or perhaps just painting the hull the well known red......sadly that is not the case!

All of the work described above,  and much more,  is being carried out by the workers at Cammell Laird,  along with specialist contractors,  with the SRR Sir David Attenborough sitting on the blocks in a dry-dock.   For those that have never heard of a dry-dock,  it is just that.  With a set of lock gates to allow ships to enter the dock,  the water can then be drained and this allows full access to not only the inside of the ship,  but also to the hull.  The latter is very important in the case of the SDA as it will be fitted with a large number of transducers (echo-sounders) and other equipment that needs to either sit flush with the hull or have a penetration through which to lower an instrument.  In addition the ship is fitted with a 'Moonpool',  something that sort of goes against the best wishes of a sailor......a huge hole through the hull of the ship that is open to the atmosphere. 

My first week at the yard has been spent working on a computer.  There is a huge amount of 'paperwork' in electronic format that I need to digest,  primarily covering my own job but also it is important that all those working on the ship have a general overview.  I have been on board and promptly got lost!  Not difficult when you consider that there is not a lot to help identify a space,  certainly there are no helpful signs.  Some spaces have a chalk mark above what will become the door,  and so my first task was to print off a set of plans which I will carry with me whenever I am working on the ship.

The construction is progressing and I can see great changes since I was last on board over a month ago. 

This area is accommodation for the science teams that will be sailing on the SDA.  There are no bulkheads in place at this stage and the work being carried out here is putting the insulation in place between the cabin and the hull, which should help in keeping them warm.  Cabling will be installed in the deck-head space (ceiling) and then the bulkheads (walls) will be installed.  All the bathrooms are modular and are in the space awaiting to be fitted in their final position and connected up the the services.

This is the Forecastle and unlike the James Clark Ross and Ernest Shackleton,  is fully enclosed.  This has the great advantage that when the SDA is parking in  poor weather conditions,  the crew responsible for handling the lines are well protected from the elements.

Looking aft with the dry-dock visible.

I hope to be able to update every week or so,  whilst at the yard.