'Boaty McBoatface' docks in Belfast as part of Antarctic science mission

The landmark Artic and Antarctic exploration vessel that once nearly broke the internet docked in Belfast on Monday as part of preparations for its first scientific voyage.The RSS Sir David Attenborough was once almost named 'Boaty McBoatface' after the general public were allowed to vote on the name for the ship. It was eventually named after the famous naturalist instead, and today is part of the British Antarctic survey.

The survey conducts exploration and research at the south pole, aiming to better understand the critical role played by Antarctica in the Earth's climate. Captain Matthew Neil, who's from Coleraine, spoke to UTV about the amazing capabilities of the RSS Sir David Attenborough. "This is a state of the art research ship. She's designed for the polar regions," he said.

"There's a lot of heating of the vessel. She's ice-strengthened. We've got 11 labs on board for doing all sorts of science."

Captain Neil says the ship will study a wide range of the Antarctic region, "the sea itself, the seabed, what's under the seabed, and we can look at the atmosphere."The trip south will take Captain Neil a long way from his home; originally from Coleraine, the captain will pilot the vessel to the Antarctic.

He says that his job is dream come true for him, "They let me drive a multi-million pound vessel as a job!""I remember at school, teachers telling me off for staring out the window.

"Well, that is my job. I get to stare out the window."Who knows how far the ship almost called Boaty McBoatface will take the captain, and how far the research conducted on board will take humanity's understanding of Earth's least populated and most mysterious continent.

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