RRS James Clark
Ross - Ice Strengthened Antarctic Supply and Survey Ship
James Clark Ross is an Antarctic supply and survey ship belonging
to the British Antarctic Survey. She is ice strengthened, rather than
being an ice breaker and represents a typical compromise solution for the
resupply of Antarctic bases and for ship-based scientific work.
She can't get through thick consolidated
sea ice, but that occurs very infrequently in the Antarctic summer itinerary
of a supply ship, so for most of the time, simply avoiding the heavy stuff
The James Clark Ross was built at
Swan Hunters shipyard Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and launched on the 1st of December
1990. She was built specifically for the British Antarctic Survey.
Each year she leaves the UK for the
Antarctic laden with supplies for British Antarctic and sub-Antarctic bases.
She stays in the southern ocean for the austral summer carrying out oceanographic
and biological survey work in between supplying and re-supplying the bases
and moving personnel around. Before the start of the Antarctic winter, she
heads back to the UK again returning equipment, garbage to be disposed of
and last but by no means least, returning Antarctic base members who have
been away from the UK from just a few months to nearly two and a half years.
Length: 99.04m, Breadth:
18.85m, Draft: 6.4m
Displacement: 5,730 tonnes.
Propulsion: Diesel electric. Two diesel engines develop a total
of 8,500 shaft horsepower and drive a dynamo to generate electricity
to drive an electric motor attached to the propeller. This gives
the ability for the propeller to still apply torque (turning
force) when pushing against ice or if slowed down. Under these
circumstances a direct drive diesel could just stop - and possibly
suffer damage in the process.
Cruising speed 12 knots (22kmh), ability to break through first
year ice 1m thick at 2 knots (3.6kmh) Ice knife positioned behind
the rudder to protect the rudder and propeller if required to
break ice when going in reverse.
Leading edge of the bow has a 150mm thick steel stem bar surrounded
by steel 26mm thick.
Special high quality low temperature steel is used throughout,
this thins to 21.5mm underneath and along the sides of the ship.
10cm x 10cm weighs more than 1.6kg
"Ice belt" extends from 1m above to 1m below
the waterline all around the ship. This region has thicker metal
and has substantial internal ribs and frames to strengthen it
against being squeezed by any surrounding ice.
10cm x 10cm weighs more than 2kg
Very "clean" hull with nothing sticking out that might
get damaged or knocked off by the ice. This makes for a less
stable passage in open waters however.
Cooling system has a mechanism to prevent ice being sucked in
and causing a blockage. Used warmed water is sprayed back over
any ice blocks that may cause problems to help free up the flow
when moving through heavy ice.
Ability to pump water rapidly from one side of the ship to the
other causing a small roll that aids passage when breaking ice.
Bow and stern thrusters to help steering in confined spaces,
can also be used to loosen ice at the bow and stern.
Powerful winches and an open "gate" at the stern for
operating trawl nets or towing various surveying devices behind
Series of laboratories on board for analysis of water, biological
specimens or other oceanographic data collected.
Working diary of the James Clark Ross