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Construction of RRS Sir David Attenborough

This stamp issue celebrates the construction of the Royal Research Ship
Sir David Attenborough, the United Kingdom’s state-of-the-art polar
research ship that will provide a new, modern platform for Antarctic and
Arctic research.

Named after the famous broadcaster and naturalist, the commissioning of
the RRS Sir David Attenborough is part of a major Government polar
infrastructure investment programme designed to keep the UK at the
forefront of world-leading research in Antarctica and the Arctic.
Commissioned by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), built
to a Rolls-Royce design by Cammell Laird, the ship will be operated by
British Antarctic Survey (BAS). This £200m commitment represents the UK
Government’s largest investment in polar science since the 1980s.

Launched by Sir David Attenborough himself and the BAS Director Prof
Dame Jane Francis, the hull of the RRS Sir David Attenborough glided
into the River Mersey on 14 July 2018. Days later, a 535 tonne
superstructure was lifted into position on top of the hull. This block
contains the final six decks of the ship and includes the bridge,
helicopter hangar and accommodation for crew, scientists and support
staff. Once operational, international scientists researching oceans,
ice and atmosphere will have access to one of the most advanced polar
research vessels in the world.

The UK has been a world leader in polar exploration and research for
over a century. Studying these remote regions plays a crucial role in
helping us understand the changes in our planet’s oceans, marine life
and climate system. The RRS Sir David Attenborough‘s design optimises
her ability to support science in extreme environments. A wide range of
specialist scientific facilities, instruments and laboratories will
enable scientists to conduct a wide range of multi-disciplinary sciences
to study the ocean, seafloor and atmosphere. Data from the deep ocean
and under-ice inaccessible locations will be captured using robotic and
remotely operated devices.

While the vessel may have become famous after a naming competition, the
public’s choice of ‘Boaty McBoatface’ will live on in the guise of an
autonomous underwater vehicle, which will be on board the RRS Sir David
Attenborough and will be deployed on scientific missions.

The new ship will operate year-round. She will spend the northern
summer supporting Arctic research cruises and the austral summer in
Antarctica carrying out research programmes and transporting people and
supplies to BAS research stations. With her ability to spend up to 60
days at sea unsupported, and an ice-strengthened hull designed to break
through ice up to 1m thick, the RRS Sir David Attenborough will
undertake extensive voyages with significantly greater geographic
coverage than her predecessors.

Four value issue - 66p, 76p, £1.01, £1.22

Technical details:


66p and £1.01 Cammell Laird

76p British Antarctic Survey

£1.22 and FDC Rolls Royce

Printer Cartor

Process Stochastic lithography

Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 ½ per 2cms

Stamp size 42 x 28mm

Sheet Layout 10

Release date Expected November, 2018

Production Co-ordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd

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