In April 2014, the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills endorsed the business case for a new UK polar research vessel, and earmarked funding of more than £200m for the ship and associated enabling works at the UK's Antarctic research stations. The new vessel will be an ice-capable, multi-role polar research and logistics ship, designed to undertake leading edge multi-disciplinary science in both polar regions and to resupply the UK's Antarctic stations. The ship will be able to carry helicopters and will have a scientific moon pool, in addition to conventional over-side deployment capabilities.
The vessel will be operated for NERC by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and enter service in Autumn 2019. It will fulfil the roles of the current UK polar vessels, RRS James Clark Ross and the RRS Ernest Shackleton.
Consultation on science requirements of the new polar vessel
To ensure that the vessel meets the current and future needs of the scientific user community, a consultation process will run from October 2014 to January 2015. The process includes this online invitation to the UK and international marine and polar science user community to submit comments on the vessel's design. A town hall meeting will also be held towards the end of the consultation period to further engage with the wider scientific community and encourage participation and input to the vessel's overall design concept and operability.
Further details can be found here