Sir David Attenborough Launches “Boaty McBoatface”Keith
Sir David Attenborough has launched the 10,000-tonne vessel of the UK’s newest polar ship – named after him – into the Mersey.
The broadcaster pressed the button, sending the hull sliding out from Birkenhead, into the water where building will continue.
“Our future will be effected by what people working on this ship will be discovering” he said.
It is “the greatest possible honour” to be its namesake.
The hull of the £200m research vessel entered the river stern-first, creating a big wave as itslid into the water.
Before the launch, the riverbed was dredged in front of the slipway to make sure the steel mass did not bottom out.
When 100 years ago this country sent people down to the South Pole, we were the pioneers in exploring the Antarctic,” Sir David said.
“When we did so, I expect the reason we did was the South Pole seemed as far away as it could possibly get to be on this planet.
“Now, 100 years later, we realise that remote place is, in fact, key to the whole understanding of the planet. What goes on down there effects the whole of the Earth in which we live.”
How will the Attenborough be used?
The new ship will support scientists working at both ends of the planet. At times, this will include delivering the supplies that sustain British bases, such as Rothera and Halley in Antarctica.
On other occasions, it will mean acting as the platform from which scientists can launch investigations of the polar environment. Because of where the ship will have to work, the hull has been designed to break through metre-thick sea-ice.