RRS James Clark Ross sold to Ukraine | Polarjournal
The British research icebreaker RRS “James Clark Ross” in Northern Marguerite Bay off Adelaide Island. (Photo: BAS)

The British Antarctic Survey announced that after 30 years of service, the British research icebreaker RRS “James Clark Ross” has been sold to the Ukrainian National Antarctic Scientific Center.

This is the second time that a UK research object has been transferred to Ukrainian research colleagues. The first transfer was in 1996 the former Faraday Station, now known as Akademik Vernadsky Station.

A blue and yellow flag is hoisted above the flagship of the Ukrainian research fleet – the former British icebreaker RRS “James Clark Ross”! This remarkable event took place on 30 August 2021, in the port of Frederikshavn (Denmark), where the ship is currently located. (Photo: UAC)

Over the past three decades, the icebreaker RRS “James Clark Ross” has fulfilled its role as the world’s leading research platform for biological, oceanographic and geophysical research. The ship houses some of the UK’s most advanced facilities for oceanographic research in both Antarctica and the Arctic.

The RRS “James Clark Ross” was built by the British shipyard Swan Hunter Shipbuilders in Wallsend. Launching took place in December 1990 and completion on September 28, 1991. Named after the English explorer and navigator James Clark Ross, it was the first BAS research vessel built for use in polar research.

The hull of the ship is ice-strengthened (ice class 1A Super). It can travel at a steady two knots through three feet of sea ice. To assist the passage through heavy pack ice, a pressurized air system rolls the ship from side to side, freeing the passage.

The ice-capable vessel is a new asset for Ukraine and opens up new research opportunities for its National Antarctic Scientific Centre, in particular the study of the oceans and climate change in the polar regions. The purchase of the vessel comes ahead of the COP26 conference in November, where representatives of all signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will meet to discuss action on climate change.

Director of BAS Professor Dame Jane Francis. In 2017 she was made a Dame Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (DCMG) in recognition of her services to British polar science and diplomacy. In 2018, she became Chancellor of the University of Leeds. (Photo: BAS)

Director of the British Antarctic Survey, Professor Dame Jane Francis said: “The RRS “James Clark Ross” is greatly admired by all who have sailed with her. She has enabled scientists from the UK and overseas to make discoveries that help to understand our changing world. We will miss her greatly, but I am delighted that our research colleagues will be using her for important scientific research. We wish them all the best.”

Evgen Dykyi was elected director of the National Antarctic Scientific Center on August 8, 2019. (Photo: UAC)

The Director of the National Antarctic Center of Ukraine, Dr. Evgen Dykyi, said: “For the Ukraine, the purchase of the RRS “James Clark Ross” opens a world of opportunities. For 20 years Ukraine has not had a ship for Antarctic research, which significantly hinders our work there. For us, too, the icebreaker “James Clark Ross” has a symbolic value, because in 1996 it brought the first Ukrainian mission to the former British station “Faraday”, now the “Akademik Vernadsky” station. With this ship, the Ukraine has ambitions for large-scale research in the Southern Ocean and possibly starting surveys in the Arctic in time.”

Source: British Antarctic Survey

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