RRS Sir David Attenborough: Behind the scenes on the ship that could have been Boaty McBoatface

  • Victoria Lampard has been on board to take a look around

As the RRS Sir David Attenborough prepares for its second voyage to Antarctica, ITV News has been on board to take a look around the world's most famous floating laboratory.

The £200 million ship, complete with 30 crew and up to 60 scientists and support staff will set sail from Harwich in Essex on Sunday.

It is set to arrive at Rothera Research Station, on the Antarctic peninsula by Christmas for scientists to continue to investigate issues including future sea-level rise and threats to marine biodiversity.

During that journey, staff will be kept updated with tannoy announcements - which have been voiced by broadcasting legend Sir David Attenborough himself.

Inside the canteen on board the polar research ship Credit: ITV News Anglia

"We're going to use it to learn about the oceans. Learning about the oceans tells us about the life in the oceans," said Anna Jones, Director of Science at the Cambridge based British Antarctic Survey.

"We need to learn about the whole system in the antarctic so we can understand what is going on in the polar regions and therefore how that is affecting us back we live."

Marine geophysicist Dr Kelly Hogan will be staying in one of the cabins when she heads on the ship to Greenland in the summer of 2024.

"A lot of the ice that's lost through the ice sheet flows through five difference glaciers there so we are going to one of the big five there and we're going to study how it's changing under conditions we are seeing today," she said.

"We are also going to look back a few thousand years when temperatures were two to three degrees warmer than now as a way of saying what could happen to Greenland in the future."

  • The tannoy announcements are voiced by Sir David Attenborough

Remotely operated vehicles - including the famous Boaty McBoatface - will help to capture  that data from the deep ocean and previously inaccessible locations under the ice.

The research vessel is capable of being at sea for two months - which means a lot of prep for chief cook Steve Carpenter.

"We've got vegans, vegetarians and celiacs, so we have to cater for everybody.  It's mostly homecooked," said Mr Carpenter.

"The crew on our watch are like our family, everyone from the captain down.  We all enjoy ourselves and make the most of the journey."

Inside the cabins which two people share Credit: ITV News Anglia

On this next round of trials, scientists will be making use of the 13 laboratories on board, testing out more equipment.

In command will be Captain Will Whatley.

"We take a lot of notice of what Sir David Attenborough says when he comes and he always makes us feel incredibly proud of what we do," he said.

"He says the British Antarctic survey are the people who are going to change the future for generations to come."

The ship's Captain William Whatley said they it would depart from Harwich before stopping at Portsmouth to collect final supplies. Credit: ITV News Anglia

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