RRS James Clark Ross icebreaker

RRS James Clark Ross icebreaker cruise ship

Cruise line
UK (Icebreakers)

RRS James Clark Ross icebreaker current position

RRS James Clark Ross icebreaker current location is at North Sea (coordinates 57.43855 N / 10.54447 E) cruising en route to FREDRIKSHAVN. The AIS position was reported 6 minutes ago.

Current Position

Specifications of RRS James Clark Ross icebreaker

Year built1991  /  Age: 30
Flag state Falkland Islands
BuilderSwan Hunter (Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, England)
Classdiesel icebreaker (UK Antarctica and Arctic research ship)
OwnerUK government (NERC)
OperatorBritish Antarctic Survey
Speed12 kn / 22 kph / 14 mph
Length (LOA)99 m / 325 ft
Beam (width)19 m / 62 ft
Gross Tonnage5732 gt
Decks with cabins2
Last Refurbishment2010
Christened byHM Queen Elizabeth II (The Queen of UK)

RRS James Clark Ross icebreaker Review

Review of RRS James Clark Ross icebreaker

RRS James Clark Ross is a UK icebreaking vessel used primarily as a logistics (research/survey/cargo) supply ship serving Antarctica-based scientific stations. The vessel can also be chartered as a cruise ship on biological, oceanographic and geophysical themed itineraries. Departures are roundtrip from Port Stanley (Falkland Islands). On Arctic expedition voyages the ship leaves from Portsmouth England (homeported at the Naval Base). RRS stands for "Royal Research Ship".

RRS James Clark Ross icebreaker ship

Royal research ships are the UK's merchant navy vessels conducting scientific research for the British Government (HMG). The list of organizations 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 has required a vessel to be designated as RRS. The UK's current fleet of Royal Research Ships includes the following vessels (the year built in brackets): RRS James Clark Ross (1990), RRS James Cook (2007), RRS Discovery (2013) and RRS Sir David Attenborough (2021).

RRS James Clark Ross icebreaker ship

This icebreaker ship is named after James Clark Ross (1800-1862) - a British (Royal Navy) officer and an Arctic explorer. He is best known for the Antarctic expedition (1839-1843) during which was charted a huge part of Antarctica's coastline. Also during this expedition were discovered and named Victoria Land, Mount Erebus and Mount Terror (both named after the expedition's ships), Snow Hill Island, Seymour Island, Admiralty Sound. In his honor were named Ross Sea, Ross Ice Shelf, and James Ross Island. In 1844, he was knighted by Queen Victoria (1819-1901).


James Clark Ross icebreaker vessel details

The icebreaker features an ice-strengthened double hull, Sperry Marine Bridge System, GMDSS-SAIT radar, Satellite Picture Receiver (MSGS-30), scientific mooring winch (length 4 km / 2,48 ml), shallow UW (underwater) camera (for depths up to 500 m / 1640 ft), multibeam echo sounders (swath bathymetry), cargo cranes (forward and aft), gantry cranes (midship and aft). The vessel also provides 5 containerized labs (4 on aft deck and 1 on the forward deck).

The James Clark Ross ship has a total of 31 passenger berths in all 20 passengers' (scientific or expedition cruise) staterooms, including 15 single cabins (with Pullman beds), 4 cabins (with 4 beds each) and 1 suite (with 2 single beds).

Dedicate to sciences onboard facilities include: Wet Lab, Main Lab, Rough Workshop, Scientific Workshop, Waterbottle Annex, Chemistry Lab, Preparation Lab, Biochemistry Lab, combined Microbiology-Radioactive Lab, scientific freezers.

The ship's propulsion is diesel-electric, provided by single-shaft (with fixed pitch propeller) plus two "White Gill" controllable Azimuth thrusters - 1 bow (10 tons thrust) and 1 stern (4 tons thrust).

  • Displacement tonnage: 7767 tons (fully loaded)
  • Max Draught: 6,4 m (21 ft)
  • Icebreaking capacity: 2,5 m (8 ft)
  • Ice-class DNV GL ICE-05
  • Range: 74,000 km (46,000 ml)
  • Endurance: 57 days (at 12 Kn speed)
  • Capacity: 77 (50 passengers, 15 crew, 12 officers)
  • Cargo capacity: 1500 m3 general cargo, 250 tonnes bulk cargo
  • Diesel fuel capacity: 300 tons

The ship has one aft-located helipad but no onboard helicopter. This icebreaking vessel undergoes refit/drydock maintenance annually.

For safety reasons, passengers (scientists, cruise tourists) are not allowed in the following areas and facilities (unless specific permission has been granted): Navigation Bridge, Engine Room, all machinery spaces, galley (kitchen), engineering workshops, crew areas (cabins, Crew Mess Room, Crew Bar).

Scientific staff is accommodated on the ship in 2-, 3- and 4-berth staterooms. Each of these passenger cabins is equipped with an en-suite bathroom (shower, WC / vacuum flush toilets). Linens are changed weekly. The ship has a laundrette (passenger laundry facility with 2 washing machines and 2 tumble driers), additional to its main laundry room. Cabins shouldn't be locked while the ship is at sea (only when in port).

Among the boat's public rooms are Bar, Gym (exercise equipment), Sauna Room,  Green Room (lounge with TV), hospital (resident doctor).

Note: In the 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.

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