Research expeditions

At any one time scientists and technicians from the UK community can be at sea on numerous vessels. Discover where they are and what they are trying to achieve.

Latest expedition

RRS James Cook

Cruise Principal Scientist & Institution Location Duration in days (begins) Aim


31 days

August / September


James Cook will undertake her 10 year special survey in 2016, this survey is conducted by the vessels Classification Society - Lloyds Register of Shipping & Flag State – Maritime and Coastguard Agency. This will be in dry dock for the bulk of this survey with a period alongside on completion.

Major items of note:

  • Inspection, survey, paint renewals & thickness measurements of the vessels hull plating, tanks and void spaces.
  • The rudders will be removed to facilitate removal of both propellers and propulsion tail shafts.  It is known that both tail shafts, which are 17 mtrs long, have been damaged since build as are the shaft stern bearings, all items are scheduled to be replaced.
  • Two of the vessels thrusters are due for a major overhaul, service and survey.
  • Upgrade to the vessels scientific winch system drive suite.
  • Renewal of the wooden working deck and thickness measurements of the steel structure underneath.
  • Renewal of the floor coverings in parts of the accommodation.
  • Renewal of benches etc within laboratories.
  • Installation of variable speed drives to sea water pumps, this will result in less erosion of system pipework, saving money on repairs and will realise energy savings.

RRS Discovery

Cruise Principal Scientist & Institution Location Duration in days (begins) Aim

Aitken Hunter

Scientific Verification Period

North Atlantic



October 2015

Scientific Verification Periods (SVP's)

To enable RRS Discovery to provide the specified scientific disciplines as designed, NERC have programmed a set of specific expeditions.

This opportunity will allow NMFSS to conduct an array of specialist scientific disciplines ensuring that each can be conducted safely, efficiently and effectively.

The expeditions will be broken down into specific elements of shore side preparation and sea going activities.


During this period, NMFSS Technical Staff and External Ship Yard Repair teams, will conduct structural alterations and additions to both Discovery and the NMEP Nioz Piston Coring System.

On completion, a full mobilisation will be under taken ensuring all equipment is loaded for DY059.

Ship position

This map shows the positions of the NOC operated vessels RRS Discovery and RRS James Cook.  While every effort is made to keep this map up to date sometimes position updates are not possible.

Update from the ship (PIM)


Vessel: Discovery
DTG: 261016 08:00
Zone: Z+1
Subj:  PIM 

Pos: 32 10N  013 27W 
Co:  209
Spd: 8.5kts

Wx: SSE 32kts Overcast with rain showers. Rough seas.

Status:  On passage to Santa Cruz de Tenerife. 

Intentions: ETA 18:00 27-OCT-16. tbc.


Vessel: James Cook
Cruise ID: JC141
DTG: 261016 0800
Time Zone: UTC+1

Position: 34° 03'N 015° 06'W
Course: 189°T
Speed: 10kts

Wind: SE 20kts
Sea: Mod sea and low swell

Status: On passage

Intentions: ETA Santa Cruz 0900 281016


Learn about the research expeditions that are taking place upon the NOC based research vessels during 2014. Read more about 2014's expeditions


Learn about the research expeditions that are taking place upon the NOC based research vessels during 2013. Read more about 2013's expeditions


Learn about the research expeditions that took place upon the NOC based research vessels during 2012. Read more about 2012's expeditions

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All updated information for cruise participants can be found using the Marine Facilities Planning website: