NOC operate on behalf of NERC two global multi-disciplinary research vessels the RRS Discovery and the RRS James Cook. These ships are made available for an average total of 550 days per year to the UK marine science community and their international collaborators. Operating world-wide and often in extreme environments, they are world-class platforms for marine science.
The modern research ship has it origins in the early voyages of exploration. HMS Endeavour, used on Cook’s first expedition (1769-81) and HMS Challenger, used for the first true oceanographic cruise to circumnavigate the globe (1872-6), were typical of research vessels up until the latter part of the 20th century.
The Royal Research Ship (RRS) Discovery completed its final scientific research cruise D382 on 24th November 2012 and has now been retired. The ‘old lady’ of the NERC fleet celebrated her 50th birthday in 2012, having originally been delivered to the National Institute of Oceanography on 17th December 1962 by Hall Russell Shipyard in Aberdeen, UK.
Marine science is a fundamental element of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) strategy, and an area in which UK scientists excel. The oceans are a crucial and major influence on the climate system as well as a huge resource for humankind. The effective management of the oceans is fundamental to a successful future.
Royal Research Ship (RRS) James Cook was delivered to NERC on 31st of August 2006 having been built by the Norwegian shipbuilder, Flekkefjord & Maskinfabrikk AS to a design by Skipsteknisk AS. The ship is named after Captain James Cook FRS RN (1728-1779) who led 3 of the most significant voyages of exploration ever undertaken between 1768-79.
UK marine scientists can make use of a wide range of research vessels other than the NOC-operated RRS Discovery or RRS James Cook. As well as giving more scientists access to a wider-range of facilities, using other vessels means more time for science as passage time between sites is reduced.
A research vessel isn't much use without mariners to operate it; meet some of the people who help keep everything ship-shaped. There are many types of jobs on board and roles include: Officers who are in charge of operating the ship. Engineers keep the machinery working; Seamen operate the equipment and look after the ship, and the Stewards keep everyone fed and comfortable.
Our vessels are equipped with an adequate engineering plant to keep them self-sufficient at sea for up to 55 days. This includes providing all crew and scientific staff with all necessary requirements for them to complete essential research at sea. This ranges from powering the vessel through the water from A to B, right through to ensuring comfortable living conditions on board whilst operating in extreme conditions.
Our research vessels come with a range of in-built equipment that the scientists will use on a cruise. Theses systems are vital to enabling measurements to be taken and samples to be collected, and without them conducting research would be a lot more difficult.