RRS Ernest Shackleton – history

Also in RRS Ernest Shackleton – history

The ship was built by Kverner Klevin Leirvik A/S, Norway for Rieber Shipping of Bergen, and launched in 1995 as the RV Polar Queen. She was acquired by BAS in Aug 1999 under a long-term charter arrangement and registered in the Falkland Island on 30 Sep 1999. Her maiden voyage with BAS took place during the 1999/00 field season. Her renaming as the RRS Ernest Shackleton by Alexandra Shackleton took place on 13 May 2000.


Named after Sir Ernest Shackleton, 1874-1922, one of the most famous figures from the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. Shackleton served on Scott’s Discovery Expedition (British National Antarctic Expedition), 1901-04, he led Nimrod, (British Antarctic Expedition), 1907-09, but is most well-known for the for the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914–17. After the expedition ship, Endurance, was crushed in sea ice, the crew were stranded on Elephant Island, South Shetland Islands.  Shackleton and five crew members sailed one of the lifeboats, James Caird, 1,450km to South Georgia. Shackleton died during the Quest Expedition, (Shackleton-Rowett Antarctic Expedition), 1921-1922, and was buried in the whalers’ graveyard at Grytviken, South Georgia.

Technical specification

  • Dimensions: length 80m; breadth 17m
  • Propulsion: single crew CP propeller

Port of registry

Stanley, Falkland Islands