RRS James Clark Ross – Research Ship
RRS James Clark Ross is one of the most sophisticated marine research vessels afloat. Built by Swan Hunter Shipbuilders at Wallsend on the River Tyne, it was launched by the Queen on 1st December 1990.
The ship is powered by diesel engines which drive an electric propulsion system. In open waters the vessel can travel at a steady 12 knots for more than 50 days at sea. In pack ice of up to one metre thick, the engines can drive the ship at a constant two knots.
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.
To help break through the heavy pack ice, the ship is also equipped with a special compressed air system which forces water from one side of the ship to the other causing the ship to roll. This rolling prevents the pressure of the ice from squeezing and damaging the hull.
The ice-strengthened hull, the propulsion and other ship’s systems are designed for extremely quiet operations. They prevent background noise from interfering with the performance of sensitive underwater research equipment. Bow and stern thrusters combined with a joystick control system allow for extremely precise manoeuvring and positioning for scientific work.