Polar Ship Operations Team

Our ambition

Is to ensure that our polar research ships support structure sustains a UK national capability in Antarctica and the Arctic, enabling science and logistic missions in the harshest of marine environments. Our activities include operating the new polar marine vessel, RRS Sir David Attenborough.  We work in partnership with the Royal Navy’s ice patrol and survey ship HMS Protector.


Randolph Sliester

Head of Ship Operations


Ralph Stevens

Polar Master


William Whatley

Polar Master


Joe Hooper

Marine Safety Systems Manager

RRS Sir David Attenborough completes ice trials

31 March, 2022

The RRS Sir David Attenborough completes ice trials during its maiden voyage to Antarctica – a critical milestone in the commissioning of Britain’s new polar ship. This is the first …

RRS James Clark Ross makes final call to Falkland Islands

1 March, 2021

Today (Monday 1 March 2021) the RRS James Clark Ross (JCR) makes her final call to her home port of the Falkland Islands. After 30 years of service, the JCR will be sold at the end of her 20/21 Antarctic season.  …

New polar research ship makes a ‘splash’

11 July, 2018

RRS Sir David Attenborough hull launch into River Mersey 14 July Update 20 July 2018 – watch video of launch A major milestone in the build of the UK’s state-of-the-art …

The RRS Sir David Attenborough in the virtual wind tunnel

27 October, 2017

The RRS Sir David Attenborough (SDA) just got another step closer to completion as the Hamburg Ship Model Basin (HSVA) investigated the aerodynamic performance of Britain’s new polar research vessel using a computer generated ‘virtual wind tunnel’

New polar ship construction milestone

18 August, 2017

A major feat of engineering takes place this week (21 August) as the “stern section” of the new polar research ship for Britain, the RRS Sir David Attenborough, is transported …

Ship assists satellite missions

26 September, 2016

On 20 September 2016 the British Antarctic Survey ship, the RRS James Clark Ross, set sail on its long voyage from Immingham in the UK to Stanley in the Falkland …

PRESS RELEASE: New season – ambitious science

23 November, 2015

New season tackles ambitious science and logistical challenges The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) 2015/16 field season is underway with dozens of scientists and support staff – together with planes and tonnes …