RRS Discovery

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RRS Discovery Review and Specifications

Specifications of RRS Discovery

Year built 2013  /  Age : 4
Flag state United Kingdom
Builder CNPF Freire Shipyard (Vigo, Spain)
Class ice-strengthened research ship
Building cost GBP 75 million (USD 122 million)
Owner UK government (NERC)
Speed 15 kn / 28 kph / 17 mph
Length (LOA) 100 m / 328 ft
Beam (width) 18 m / 59 ft
Gross Tonnage 5952 gt
Passengers 28
Crew 24
Decks 7
Decks with cabins 2
Christened by HRH Anne (The Princess Royal)

Review of RRS Discovery

RRS Discovery is a 2013-launched ice-strengthened research vessel serving as oceanographic survey ship homeported in Southampton (England UK). Its sister-ship (with the same design) is RRS James Cook (launched in 2007). RRS stands for "Royal Research Ship".RRS Discovery ship (2013)

Royal research ships are the UK's merchant navy vessels conducting scientific research for the British Government (HMG). The list of organisations that are allowed to operate RRS vessels includes NERC (abbrev "Natural Environment Research Council"), BAS (abbrev "British Antarctic Survey") and NOC (abbrev "National Oceanography Centre"). However, a warrant from the British monarch is required a vessel to be designated as RRS. The UK's current fleet of Royal Research Ships includes the follwoing vessels (the year built in brackets): RRS James Clark Ross (1990), RRS Ernest Shackleton (1995), RRS James Cook (2007, sister-ship), RRS Discovery (2013) and RRS Sir David Attenborough (2019).

This British research vessel is operated by the UK government agency NERC (abbrev from "Natural Environment Research Council"). The vessel is the 3rd named "RRS Discovery" - following the same-named ships launched in 1901 (wooden 3-masted Antarctic research ship), 1929 (Antarctica-based hydrographical and marine biological survey ship) and 1962 (until 2006 - UK's largest oceanographic research ship, decommissioned in 2012). All these vessels were named after the 1901 wooden ship used during the Discovery Expedition (1901-1904) by Robert Falcon Scott (1868-1912) - a British Navy officer and Antarctic explorer.RRS Discovery ship (2013)

RRS Discovery vessel details

This research ship features an ice-strengthened double hull and containerized labs that can be equipped depending on the nature of scientific activities on each cruise. The ship also has an advanced hydroacoustic system consisting of 2 echosounders plus 1 hydrophone (on the keel) and can operate one ISIS ROV (remotely operated underwater vehicle / robotic submarine) with max working load 4,5 tons.RRS Discovery ship (2013)

  • The vessel is also has installed: dynamic positioning system, CCTV monitoring equipment, echosounder units by the Norwegian company Kongsberg Maritime (multibeam deepwater model EM122, multibeam medium-water model EM710, single-beam model EA600), sub-bottom profiler (model Kongsberg SBP120), scientific echo sounder (model Simrad EK60), cargo-deck aft articulated crane (17 m, model Ferri Serie A6 100170, single pull 10 tons, double pull 20 tons), hydraulic winch (10 tons pull, wire length 500 m / 1640 ft), knuckle crane (forward, Ferri Serie A0 020120, 12 m, 2 tons). A longitudinal transfer gantry crane (10 tons) is used to lift heavy equipment and TEU containers from the aft cargo deck and load them into the hangar. One 5-ton gantry crane is used for ROV deployment.
  • The ship is poweret by four "Wartsila 8L20" (8-cylinder) marine diesel engines (combined power output 7080 kW).
  • Propulsion is diesel-electric and provided by two Azimuth Thrusters (each with 5-bladed fixed pitch propellers). One is retractable (forward, power output 1350 kW) and the other is Tees White Gill (360-degree bow thruster, power output 1700 kW).
  • Displacement tonnage: 6260 tons
  • Deadweight tonnage: 2004 tons
  • Max Draught: 6,6 m (22 ft) fully loaded
  • Ice-class: 1D (ice-strengthened bow)
  • Endurance: 50 days
  • Capacity: 52 passengers and crew
  • The ship has no helipad and can't serve helicopters.

Note: In case of poor AIS coverage, tracking the vessel's current location will be impossible. You can see the CruiseMapper's list of all icebreakers and ice-breaking research ships in the "itinerary" section of our Icebreakers hub. All states and their fleets are listed there.

RRS Discovery wiki

  • RRS Discovery was built by the Spanish shipbuilder "Construcciones Navales Paulino Freire" (CNPF) at the Freire Shipyard in Bouzas (Vigo Spain). The shipbuilding company specializes in ship design, construction, refit (transformation) and repairs of steel hulled vessels with LOA length up to 155 m (508 ft).
  • The vessel's design was developed by the Alesund Norway-based company Skipsteknisk (also designer of RRS James Cook).
  • The ship was christened on October 10, 2013, by godmother HRH Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise (The Princess Royal).
  • This top-notch scientific research ship operates on worldwide itineraries. It specializes mainly in measurements related to oceanic marine ecosystems and seismic surveys (underwater earthquakes).

Photos of RRS Discovery

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