The RRS James Clark Ross has been sold to the Ukrainian National Antarctic Scientific Centre.
The vessel will be replaced by the RSS David Attenborough, one of the most advanced polar research vessels in the world.
This is the second time that a UK research asset has transferred to Ukrainian research colleagues – the first being the transfer in 1996 of the former Faraday station that is now known as Vernadsky.
In a news release, the British Antarctic Survey say:
“For the past three decades the JCR has fulfilled her role as a world-leading research platform for biological, oceanographic and geophysical research. She contains some of Britain’s most advanced facilities for oceanographic research in both Antarctica and the Arctic. Built by Swan Hunter Shipbuilders in Wallsend, UK, and launched by HM the Queen in 1990 the RRS James Clark Ross was part of the first international, multi-vessel survey to estimate the biomass of krill in the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean – a figure still used today in krill management models.
The ship is also a platform for deploying ambitious sediment coring technologies in previously unstudied locations, pushing coring technologies to its limits. Ground-breaking work in the Arctic provided insights into the scale and impacts of climate change in one of the most rapidly changing environments on the planet. The ice-capable ship is a new asset for Ukraine and opens up new research opportunities for its National Antarctic Scientific Centre, in particular research into oceans and climate change in the polar regions. The purchase of the ship comes ahead of the COP26 Conference in November, where representatives from every signatory party for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) come together to discuss climate change action.”
Director of British Antarctic Survey Professor Dame Jane Francis FRS said,
“The RRS James Clark Ross is much admired by all who have sailed in her. She has enabled scientists from the UK and overseas to make discoveries that help make sense of our changing world. We will miss her greatly, but I am delighted that our research colleagues will use her to carry out important scientific investigations. We wish them well.”
Director of the National Antarctic Center of Ukraine Dr. Evgen Dykyi said:
“For Ukraine, the purchase of the RRS James Clark Ross opens a world of opportunities. For the last 20 years, Ukraine hasn’t had a vessel for Antarctic research, significantly impeding our work there. For us, the icebreaker “James Clark Ross” has a symbolic value as well, as it brought the first Ukrainian mission to the former British station “Faraday” (at present “Vernadsky”)” in 1996. With this vessel, Ukraine has ambition on large-scale research in the Southern Ocean and possibly starting surveys in the Arctic in time.”