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Polar research ship builder revealed

Polar research shipImage copyright
Natural Environment Research Council

Image caption

Work begins next year to build the polar research ship

A £200m polar research vessel is to be built by a shipyard on Merseyside, securing hundreds of jobs.

The research ship for marine science will have floating labs and be able to despatch robotic submarines.

Cammell Laird in Birkenhead competed against international companies to be named as the preferred bidder. Work is due to begin next year.

The project would secure 400 jobs and create 60 apprenticeships. Cammell Laird said it was “fantastic news”.

Discussions with the firm will now take place ahead of the contract being awarded next month.

Cammell Laird was chosen over firms in Singapore, South Korea, Spain and Norway.


Polar research ship

Image copyright
British Antarctic Survey

  • It will operate in both Antarctica and the Arctic and will able to endure up to 60 days in sea-ice
  • There will be a helicopter-deck and floating research laboratories
  • The UK says it will have the most advanced oceanographic research vessel fleet in the world
  • Robotic submarines and marine gliders will collect data on ocean conditions
  • Airborne robots and on-board environmental monitoring systems will provide information about the environment

Source: Department for Business Innovation and Skills


Cammell Laird was founded in 1828 and is a ship repair and conversion specialist with new-build capabilities.

John Syvret, Cammell Laird chief executive, said: “Being selected as the preferred bidder in a global tender to undertake such an exciting and major infrastructure project is fantastic news for our workforce, the local region and the UK.”

Natural Environment Research Council, which selected Cammell Laird, said the ship would become operational in 2019.

Chief executive Duncan Wingham said the vessel would “help UK scientists continue to lead the world in understanding our polar regions”.

Minister for Universities and Science Jo Johnson said: “This £200m investment secures the UK’s position as a world leader in polar research and provides a major boost to shipbuilding in the North West.”

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