RRS James Clark Ross

The RRS James Clark Ross (named after Admiral Sir James Clark Ross, R.N. ) was built by Swan Hunter Shipbuilders, Wallsend, UK and launched by H.M. The Queen on the 1st December 1990.

The vessel can steam at a steady two knots through level sea ice one metre thick. To assist passage through heavy pack ice a compressed air system rolls the ship from side to side freeing the passage. RRS James Clark Ross is equipped for geophysical studies, with a compressor bank to power a seismic air gun array, and large aft and starboard decks for scientific equipment deployed by aft and midships gantries. For biological studies, the vessel can deploy a wide range of sampling gear and benefits from modern underway instrumentation. The ship is designed with an extremely low noise signature to allow sensitive underwater acoustic equipment to operate effectively. Technical details are as follows:

JCR Images


Port of Registry:      Stanley, Falkland Islands
Call Sign:                 ZDLP
MMSI No:                740339000
Class:                        Lloyds +100A1 Ice Class IAS +LMS UMS (DP-AM pending)
Length overall:         99.04 m
Breadth:                    18.85 m
Full load draft:          6.40 m
Freeboard:                3.308 m
Endurance:               12 knots cruising speed: 57 days
Propulsion:               Diesel Electric, single fixed propeller, 8500 SHP
Bow thruster:             White Gill 360 Controllable, 10 tonnes thrust
Stern thruster:           White Gill 360 Controllable, 4 tonnes thrust
Stabilisation:             Intering Active/Passive, incorporating ice heeling and overside load compensation
Manning:                   Officers 12 (+1 on science cruises)
                                    Ratings 15
                                    Doctor 1

Scientific/Expedition Accommodation

15 single berth (with Pullman berth) (14 available on science cruises)
4 x 4-berth
Chief Scientist's Suite (2 single berths available)
Maximum science complement: 31 berths

Ship's Navigation Outfit

Sperry Mk37 Mod E Dual Gyro Compasses
Sperry Autopilot Model ADG
  • Electronic Positioning:

    Leica MX 400 DGPS
    Ashtech G12 DGPS



    Standard magnetic Cook NSK1977 electric repeater

    Electronic Charting and Plotting:

    Sea Information System Microplot  Survey MR
    ARCS chart display



    Sperry Marine X and S Band

    2 HF transceivers,  1.8 - 30 MHz,  SSB, CW and RTTY

    Echo sounders:

    JRC Navigational Echo Sounder
    Simrad EA600 Hydrographic Sounder
    Simrad EK500 200 Hz Transducer


    Sperry SRD 421S Dual Axis Doppler Log
    Chernikeef Aquaprobe Mk 5 EM Log


    Dartcom HRPT receiver.

    Working Deck Areas

    After Deck 20 m long, full deck width (370 m)
    Starboard: 5 m wide to midship (150 m)
    Forward: Starboard side main deck (130 m&'178;)
    All working deck areas covered by matrix of 1-tonne capacity bolt-down points at 1 m centres (0.5 m in some areas)
    Facilities for 5 laboratory containers (ISO 20 ft, 4 aft, 1 fwd)



    Main Cargo Crane 20 tonne x 20 m
    Stores Crane 2.5 tonne x 10 m
    Science Crane 2 tonne x 4 m, fitted winch and slip rings


    10 tonne x 17 m, 3 tonne x 22 m
    2 x 2.5 tonne capacity science cranes (with winches), pt 13 m, stb 10 m




    Articulated 'A' frame SWL 20 T (static) (7.5 T SWL ArtArm.)
    2x2 tonne handling winches on gantry frame


    Articulated 'A' frame SWL 30 T (static)
    2x2 tonne handling winches adjacent

    Winch Systems

    Main Traction Winch 30 T SWL (serving aft and midship gantries):

    Storage Drums - Superaramid Deep Coring Warp - 8000 m
    Standard Coring Warp - 8000 m
    Tapered Trawl Warp - 15000 m
    Conducting Cable - 10000 m

    CTD/Hydrographic Traction Winch 10 T SWL:

    Storage Drums - Hydrographic Wire - 9000 m
    Conducting Cable - 8000 m
    Spare Drum
    (Inboard and outboard motion compensator systems are fitted to both winches)
    Biological Drum Winch: 3000 m 5 T SWL

    Twin Warp Trawling System:

    3000 m x 2 x 35.8 T
    (A net drum winch is available for mounting on the main deck)
    Gilson Winches: 2 x 5 T


    Wet Laboratory (23.5 m)
    Main Laboratory (44.2 m)
    Rough Workshop (25.9 m)
    Scientific Workshop (19.6 m)
    Waterbottle Annex (18.1 m
    Chemistry Laboratory (18.1 m)
    Preparation Laboratory: (16.3 m)
    Biochemistry Laboratory (10.6 m)
    Microbiology/Radioactive Laboratory (10.7 m)

    Computer/Electronic/Control Spaces

    Underway Instrumentation and Control Room (66.8 m)
    (incorporating Winch Control Room)
    Electronics Workshop (7.2 m)
    Data Preparation Room (16.5 m)
    Computer Room (19.2 m)
    Paper and Magnetic Tape Ready-use Store (4.6 m)

    Other Scientific Spaces

    Gravity Meter Room (5.2 m)
    Cool Specimen Room (13 m)
    Scientific Freezer (12.4 m)
    -80C Scientific Chest Freezers x2
    Scientific Hold (118 m)
    Explosives Magazine (15 T)
    Hazardous Chemicals Lockers (Main Deck)
    Storm Clothing Annex

    Scientific Data Acquisition

    Local Area Network system with back-up is installed for cruise instrumentation and equipment. Instrumentation continuously logged on the central computing systems. Facilities are available for data transmission via satellite to and from the ship.

    Scientific Instrumentation

    Echo Sounders and Logs

    Simrad EA 600 navigational sounders
    Simrad EK 500, 38 kHz, 200 kHz and 120 kHz transducers
    Sub-bottom Profiler, 3.5 kHz
    Precision Echo Sounder, 10 kHz
    Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler
    Pitch, Roll, Heave monitor/compensator
    Dual Axis Doppler Log (Sperry SRD 421 S)
    Electro-Mechanical Log (Chernikeef Aquaprobe Mk5)

    Further information regarding these systems is on the Antarctic & Marine Engineering (AME) pages.

    Navigation and Oceanography

    Ship's navigation system repeated in UIC Room
    Trimble 4000 Surveyor DGPS (Racal Skyfix)
    PC based Oceanlogger
    Ashtec GPS3DF - linked to ADCP
    Dynamic Positioning System: Simrad Kongsberg SDPI 1

    Scientific Services

    Seismic Air Compressors

    Hamworthy 4TH565W100 x 4 - capacity 555m/hr at 136 bar

    Non-contaminated Sea Water System

    Retractable sampling probe 7.2/14 m/hr

    Distilled/UHP Water System

    Elgastat polishing unit (ultra high purity) in chemistry laboratory

    Hydraulic Power Supplies

    Three pump system providing flow rates of 26, 52 and 78 ltrs/min at 200 bar to three deck manifolds (port/stb aft and midships)
    Fwd deck manifold 50 ltrs at 200 bar
    Hansen (female required) connections 1.25/1" BSP
    Separate supplies for 'Gloria, MCS and Net Drum Winch'

    Electrical Power Supplies

    There are two standards of supply - general purpose which may at times have high harmonic content due to the thyristor-controlled propulsion system and clean which is provided by dedicated generators and is suitable for sensitive electronic equipment
    415 v AC x 500 amo (scientific rough workshop) serving aft deck
    415 v 50 Hz 3 Ph general purpose supply with 8 outlets (main deck)
    240 v 50 Hz 3 Ph general purpose supply (PES pt and stb)
    240 v 50 Hz 1 Ph general purpose supply with 5 outlets (various)
    110 v 50 Hz 1 Ph general purpose supply to all working areas
    240 v 50 Hz 1 Ph clean supply to most areas - i.e. labs, cabins, workshops etc.
    110 v 60 Hz 1 Ph clean supply to limited areas - 10 outlets

    Container Laboratories

    Facilities and services for four containers on aft deck and one container on the fwd deck