29 March, 2021 News stories

The RRS James Clark Ross arrived in Harwich yesterday, completing its final season with British Antarctic Survey. After 30 years of service, the ship will soon be sold.

The ship returns to the UK after a five-and-a-half-month mission to deliver scientific and operational staff to Antarctica, and to resupply the UK stations in Antarctica for another year. The ship brings home 26 crew members and 33 research and support staff, leaving wintering teams at Rothera, King Edward Point and Bird Island to spend the next 12-18 months on station.

A large ship in a body of water
RRS James Clark Ross arrives in Antarctica

RRS James Clark Ross’ final season has been one like no other, with the ongoing impacts of Covid-19 meaning that the ship’s crew was on board for longer than usual and the scope of Antarctic research season was shorter than usual.

For the past three decades the JCR has fulfilled her role as a world-leading research platform for biological, oceanographic and geophysical research. She contains some of Britain’s most advanced facilities for oceanographic research in both Antarctica and the Arctic.

Large red ship in a body of water, with hills behind
JCR departs King Edward Point. Paulo O’Sullivan, BAS

Professor Dame Jane Francis, Director of BAS said:

“The RRS James Clark Ross has been more than a workplace to her crew and those who sailed on her, it has been a home. As we look forward to a new era with the RRS Sir David Attenborough, the JCR joins the fleet of former BAS research ships that helped change the way we understand our world.”

The RRS James Clark Ross was built by Swan Hunter Shipbuilders in the UK and launched by HM The Queen in 1990. She will be replaced with the RRS Sir David Attenborough (SDA). The SDA will make her maiden voyage to Antarctica later this year.