back to article Brits seek rousing name for polar research vessel

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is inviting Joe Public to suggest names for its forthcoming polar research ship, due to hit the world's oceans in 2019. The £200m, 15,000 tonne vessel - to be built at Merseyside shipbuilding yard Cammell Laird - is hailed as Blighty's "largest and most advanced research ship yet …

  1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    OK, I probably have diferent ideas of Arctic state of the art

    Now THIS is state of the art. What I see on the pic is a retirement sailboat. So something leisurely like "Easy does it" will be most appropriate.

    Yeah, I know - having something in that class means actually being serious about the Arctic and Antarctic. It actually does not cost that much either - the price is less than a Trident submarine.

    1. m0rt Silver badge

      Re: OK, I probably have diferent ideas of Arctic state of the art

      Or "My First Icebreaker" ?

      I wonder if the 50 Let Pobedy has 'Frickin Lasers' on it?

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: OK, I probably have diferent ideas of Arctic state of the art

        Or "My First Icebreaker"

        Second actually, RRS James Clark Ross (current Antarctic/Arctic survey ship) has theoretical 1m ice breaking capacity. This one is in the same class.

        That kind of "capability" is a joke - as proved by the Akademik Shokalsky incident. The end result is that a proper icebreaker has to go in and save their sorry a**e. And even those if they are not nuclear if the ice really hits the fan, can only sit, watch observe and serve as a helicopter platform. More than 3 meters and that's it. Compared to that a proper nuclear monster can break through 10m ice. It takes it quite a bit of time, but it can. 1m ice - it literally just cruises through. Just search on gootube. It is a sight which nothing can compare with. The amount of stupid sheer power at use is just... russian...

        RRS "Easy Does it" or RRS "Invest in anything but Science" are most appropriate.

        1. Michael Prior-Jones

          Re: OK, I probably have diferent ideas of Arctic state of the art

          I sailed on the James Clark Ross about ten years ago. British polar research vessels are not "icebreakers" like the Russian ones, but "ice-strengthened". The difference is in the shape of the hull. An icebreaker has a rounded bow profile which forces the ice below the water as the ship progresses (see the picture of the Botnica here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icebreaker#Ice_resistance_and_hull_form) - but this makes the ship less stable and less efficient when operating in the open water. The British ships both have a more conventional bow shape and a flattish bottom, and break ice by riding up onto it and breaking it with their sheer weight. This is slower and more energy intensive when breaking ice, but provides much better performance in open water. They spend a very small fraction of their duties actually breaking ice. A typical tasking for JCR involves sailing from the UK in August, bringing cargo and supplies down to the Antarctic stations and doing some scientific work on the way. In November and December they start doing deliveries to the Antarctic stations with scientific operations in between. The bulk of the scientific mission is done in mid-season when the ice is starting to retreat. From February to April they will do "last call" at the various Antarctic stations before returning to the UK. Generally JCR then undertakes Arctic work during the northern summer before the cycle repeats. The choice of an ice-strengthened hull profile means better performance in the open sea and a much lower fuel bill for the UK taxpayer, at the expense of performance in heavy ice.

          With regard to the Shokalsky incident - the British ships don't operate in the southern Ross Sea because that area is heavily covered by the USA, Australia and New Zealand. JCR is designed for operation in the Weddell Sea and the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, where the ice thickness is generally less of an issue.

          Oh, there's one other issue with Antarctica: the Antarctic Treaty and its associated protocols declare it to be a nuclear-free zone, so nuclear-powered icebreakers are not an option. The USA actually had a nuclear power reactor on one of their bases in the 50s, and were made to take it away once the Treaty was signed!

          1. cray74

            Re: OK, I probably have diferent ideas of Arctic state of the art

            Excellent write-up sir, and now I shall nitpick you:

            The USA actually had a nuclear power reactor on one of their bases in the 50s, and were made to take it away once the Treaty was signed!

            The Antarctic Treaty (signed 1959) banned nuclear testing and nuclear waste, but not reactors. The US was a signatory when it operated McMurdo base's nuclear plant from 1964 to 1972, and was shutdown because of 1) 438 malfunctions in that period, and 2) low cost-effectiveness.

            The role the treaty played was that the US was obligated to remove 9000 cubic meters (~20,000 tons) of contaminated soil, plus the reactor, spent fuel, and sundry other radioactive crap, most of which ended up at Savannah River to leak into surrounding communities.

      2. LesC
        Thumb Up

        Re: OK, I probably have diferent ideas of Arctic state of the art

        Now that is an Arktika-class nuclear beast but you need a lot of laser power to defeat the specific heat of ice / water at 4200j/k/degs C. Greenland laser packing sharks are pretty scarce...

        The brute force method is better there's a video out on Younyancat blowing diesels off the planet.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVtDX46cTJQ this is before Murmansk Shipping CO Atomic became Rosatom.

        Vessel does her bit for climate science too a shufty at sailwx will find where she is...

        I proposed Sir Edmund Hillary but Ranulph Fiennes must be a close second.

        LC

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: OK, I probably have diferent ideas of Arctic state of the art

          The brute force method

          That video shows a common problem with foreigners not quite getting it when dealing with Russians. The poor pack ice clearly failed to recognize the "Que".

          When you hear _THAT_ melody anywhere around Russians the best thing is to make sure you are not on their ramming vector. If you value your life - be somewhere else. There is 104 years of genetic imprint in that tune including 2 world wars, a civil war and a countless number of smaller ones. If the Russians, or the Polish for that matter (the tune with a different text used to be Armia Krajova WW2 battle song), have put Прощание Славянки on the tannoy... Just run. If you can. Quite clearly the ice did not "get the message".

        2. Lars Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: OK, I probably have diferent ideas of Arctic state of the art

          "Arktika-class nuclear beast" those ships were all built in Finland, like the majority of all icebreakers. The nuclear reactor was put in by the Russians in Leningrad.

    2. kmac499
      Trollface

      Re: OK, I probably have diferent ideas of Arctic state of the art

      Clever bit of design :- put the reactors up front and if the ice get's a tad thick tell the engineer to set the reactors to 110% and just wait a while till the hull glows reddish..

      1. Down not across Silver badge

        Re: OK, I probably have diferent ideas of Arctic state of the art

        Clever bit of design :- put the reactors up front and if the ice get's a tad thick tell the engineer to set the reactors to 110% and just wait a while till the hull glows reddish..

        I think ABB Azipods are still probably more useful approach.

    3. Smooth Newt
      Go

      Re: OK, I probably have diferent ideas of Arctic state of the art

      Given the parlous state of UK science funding and the likelihood of further cuts, it might as well start as it will doubtless end:

      RRS This Ship Is For Sale

  2. m0rt Silver badge

    "Finity's End"

    I liked the book. Plus when you are surrounded by ice in each direction, deep sea in one and the sky in another...

  3. wolfetone Silver badge

    "Boat 18-30"

    Why not? Scientists have parties too.

  4. Oh Matron!

    The greatest explorer every!

    Uncle Travelling Matt.

  5. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    How about Linuxplorer

    ...as there's more than a few penguins there.

  6. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Great preparation, tragic results

    I would put forward the name 'John Franklin'. He was a British explorer (and a naval officer who had fought at Trafalgar) who led a very well-prepared expedition to chart the Northwest Passage, but it was one which came to a tragic end due to an unfortunate series of circumstances. The disappearance of the expedition stayed in the minds of the British public for several decades afterwards, and the mystery was only solved a few years ago. More here.

    The event also forms the basis for a superb horror novel by Dan Simmons, The Terror (no link, 'cos a synopsis would spoil the story).

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Great preparation, tragic results

      Tragic, but expected (yes, I know, such is the power of hindsight). Prior to Amundsen (first ship properly designed to "pop-up" instead of being broken by ice) and Kolchak (first research ice-breaker) practically all expeditions by all countries went into the arctic on a wing and a prayer.

      So I would not actually put the "great preparation" tag on any of them. Including Franklin's one.

      So if we are going to name it after a person Colin Archer would be the most appropriate - he is the Scot who build the first proper Arctic ship. The Fram. Now, I will not comment on why he ended up in Norway to actually build something that is new and advanced. That is a different story.

      1. Lars Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Great preparation, tragic results

        @ Voland's right hand

        Colin Archer was born In Norway, Larvik 1832, his parents immigrated to Norway 1825. My grandmother had one built and brought from Norway. She often talked about that yacht. They are still built and popular if a bit old fashion as they are narrow, deep and rather heavy.

        "In 1906, the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen first successfully completed a passage from Greenland to Alaska in the sloop Gjøa.

        Gjøa was the first vessel to transit the Northwest Passage. With a crew of six, Roald Amundsen traversed the passage in a three-year journey, finishing in 1906.

        Gjøa was built by Knut Johannesson Skaale in Rosendal, Norway in 1872, the same year Amundsen was born".

        (to quote the Wiki). Is this the different story.

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: Great preparation, tragic results

          (to quote the Wiki). Is this the different story.

          It is - Gjøa was not specifically designed for ice from the ground up as a polar adventure/research vessel.

          That honor is carried by Fram (Amundsen + Archer) and Taimyr + Vaygach (Kolchak). They designed and operated the first proper arctic science expeditions using equipment which was built specifically for that purpose and designed for the environment.

          1. Lars Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Great preparation, tragic results

            @ Voland's right hand

            Yes very true, I have seen Fram in the museum in Oslo. A rudder that one could lift up at sea and stuff like that.

          2. Lars Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Great preparation, tragic results

            For a Scandinavian joke about Amundsen. Vad är skilladen mellan Amundsen och en bagare - Amundsen tog sig fram med Fram medan bagaren tog sig fram med bak. I doubt Google translate will make much sense of that.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Great preparation, tragic results

              What is the difference between Amundsen and a baker - Amundsen took himself forward with "Forward" while the baker took himself forward with baking.

              I taught myself Svenska 40 years ago by reading the Asterix the Gaul books. The pun in "bak" for baking/behind had to be confirmed by blowing the dust off my Esselette Studium two volume large dictionary. That was bought at the same time as my first Swedish Asterix book in Stockholm. Although I now realise I missed the dropdown box in Google with alternative meanings.

              I decided to see what Google made of the whole thing - expecting something a bit closer than it actually achieved. It was a surprise to me as the Swedish looked like straightforward grammar that could almost be translated with word substitution.

              Google Translate:

              "What is portrayed laden between Amundsen and a baker - Amundsen scampered down the front while the baker came down with the back."

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Great preparation, tragic results

                ..."took himself forward " is possibly better rendered as "furthered himself"

    2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Great preparation, tragic results

      I think they should reuse the name of one of Franklin's ships - Erebus or Terror.

    3. TitterYeNot

      Re: Great preparation, tragic results

      "The event also forms the basis for a superb horror novel by Dan Simmons, The Terror (no link, 'cos a synopsis would spoil the story)."

      If we're going down the horror route, some Thing tells me that the 'R.J. MacReady' would be most appropriate, especially when in the Antarctic...

  7. Matthew Smith

    SS Admiral Sandy Woodward

    The liberator of the Falkland Islands.That will please the argies.

  8. John Lilburne Silver badge

    Stick with reality ...

    ... call it the Nassau Queen.

  9. beer_monster

    In the spirit of Iain M. Banks

    How about "In search of warmer climes"

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: In the spirit of Iain M. Banks

      Surely the ship should be allowed to choose its own name ?

      You just need a Google AI mind installed

  10. John G Imrie Silver badge

    How about 'Expotition'

    From chapter eight of The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh 'In which Christopher Robin Leads an Expotition to the North Pole'

  11. hplasm Silver badge
    Coat

    In Memoriam, Fr Jack Hackett...

    RRS Feck!

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RSS Left Hand Down A Bit

    1. graeme leggett

      RSS Everybody Down!

    2. Wiltshire

      RSS Troutbridge?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        RSS Mornington Crescent

        I wonder how many readers still haven't a clue?

        1. TonyJ Silver badge

          "...RSS Mornington Crescent

          I wonder how many readers still haven't a clue?..."

          Depends which rules they're using... :)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RSS Right Hand Up A Bit

  14. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    RRS Ice Ice Breaker ...

  15. Alister Silver badge

    Not quite a vulture...

    But they could name her RSS Robert Falcon Scott.

    Or maybe RSS Lawrence Oates, now there's someone worthy of remembrance.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not quite a vulture...

      RSS Herbert Ponting. His photographs are probably quite familiar to people, if not his name.

      The reputation of R F Scott has suffered somewhat in recent years. Brave but possibly too much of a amateur gentleman explorer when compared to Amundsen.

  16. Snow Hill Island
    Pint

    Pimm's

    Forget the rum ration, it'll be Pimm's on ice every day.

    1. Christoph Silver badge

      Re: Pimm's

      Gin and Tonic

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: Pimm's

        ITYM Jynnan Tonnyx

  17. theOtherJT

    The Borealis

    ...obviously.

  18. Christoph Silver badge

    By the time they've got it built ...

    ... it will be the "Where did all the ice go?"

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For great research, follow the Bear...

    Nuff said

  20. Sandtitz Silver badge

    HMS Plummet

    RMS Turn Turtle

    The Unsinkable

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The GUP-S of course.

    <http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/games/octonauts-gup-s-adventure>

  22. thondwe

    RSS Sir Ranulph Fiennes on the assumption it'll need to rescue him from at least one of his (mis) adventures

  23. Winkypop Silver badge
    Coat

    I'm torn

    Between "Nautical Queen" and "Sea Princess"

    How about I compromise and call her "Nausea"

    1. Alister Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: I'm torn

      Nice, I see what you did there :D

  24. Sir Sham Cad

    Obvious suggestions are obvious

    Royal connection with absolutely no drawbacks whatsoever:

    Advanced Research Ship Elizabeth II

    Just because I'd love to hear newsreaders pronounce it:

    RRS Arraress

    Because it's our favourite ice breaker:

    RRS What about this weather we're having?

    1. TitterYeNot
      Coat

      Re: Obvious suggestions are obvious

      "Just because I'd love to hear newsreaders pronounce it"

      Ah, in that case you'd want the 'RRS Mary Hinge'...

  25. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

    BoJo

    If we're going to call it something relevant, surely someone that is constantly getting into stupid places and yet somehow turns it to his advantage would be most appropriate?

  26. Stoneshop Silver badge
    Pint

    Anything to do with (rising) temperatures

    RSS Lord Kelvin

  27. Elmer Phud Silver badge

    Name?

    "Bi-Polar --we go to both ends."

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why not...the Cutty Sark.

    Cutty, because that's what it does to the ice!

    Sark, because it's a British vessel, ya plonker!

  29. Comedy of Errors

    On The Rocks

  30. WolfFan Silver badge

    RRS Thetis or perhaps RRS Thunderbolt

    Those who know the history of the Royal Navy may recognize that particular pair of names and might take the hint that perhaps it might not be a good idea to join that ship's crew. Hint: one particular RN ship had both names and set a record which will never be broken, and not in a good way.

    1. MrT

      Ah yes...

      ...I first heard of it in a song by Jules Weston, (a one man rock band doing the rounds in North Yorkshire in the 80s - I lived in Ripon at the time and most heard him at the Navigation pub). The song starts (IIRC):

      "I have passed many times a place north of Sicily

      Where half a mile down on the seabed there lay

      An old British submarine with all of her crew.

      They are still down there waiting today..."

  31. Robert E A Harvey

    ideas

    "End of Empire"

    "Dark Materials"

    "Beagle"

    "Arathusa"

    "Bagpuss"

    "Frank Hurley"

    1. MotorcyclesFish

      Re: ideas

      RSS Ice Brexit

    2. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: ideas

      Tux

      Indestructible III

      Frigidissimis

      Gu Math Fuar

      Dylan

      Oswald Cobblepot

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: ideas

      "Bob"

      "My Little Floatie"

      "Flotsam"

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    RRS Can I Have a Tow

    As I've broken down again...

  33. This post has been deleted by its author

  34. The Jon

    RSS Norman Stanley Fletcher

    Am I the only one to equate the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) with "nerk" a made up swear word from classic sit-com Porridge?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porridge_(TV_series)#Contributions_to_the_English_language

  35. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    HMS Brass Monkey.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Watership Down

    I'll hop right along...

  37. TonyJ Silver badge

    Titanic's Revenge

  38. Lord Raa
    Coat

    If it's not the first ice breaker, then may I suggest "Mingler"?

    Of course, if it ends up looking a mess, you can always drop the "L"...

  39. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Since Erebus and Terror don't have great reputations in polar exploration may I humbly suggest:

    RRS Penguin Smasher

  40. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Or...

    PARIS

    Proper Antarctic Research is Science!

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The RRS Where's Waldo?

    The RRS Penguinista?

    The RRS Snowman's Balls?

    The RRS Santa Smacker?

    The RRS Frau Zen?

    The RRS Fuckitscold?

    I'll get my coat, it's the one with the ice cube tray in the pocket...

  42. Franco Silver badge

    If we're going to name it after an explorer, I vote for RRS Dora.

  43. DougS Silver badge

    SS Witches Tits

    See title

  44. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    Polaris

  45. MrT

    If funding keeps getting cut back...

    ... "RRS [this space for hire]"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If funding keeps getting cut back...

      "[this space for hire]" probably not for Champagne though.

  46. Asterix the Gaul

    I would choose, BOREAS(North Wind) for her.

    We used to nickname Penguins,'waiters in tail-coats',seeing as there are none in the Arctic there's no point in naming her 'Penguin'.

    POLARIS would also suffice.

    When I was in the Arctic in the early 1960's, we used the Pole Star to navigate,unlike the Decca Navigation system,which had it's northernmost chain station in Norway,the magnetic interference would regularly throw out the system & it was never truly accurate.

    Like a gyro system, with it's accuracy,the Pole Star is 'fixed' positionally speaking & was therefore a very useful tool for navigational back up.

  47. Captain DaFt

    I turn to Mythology

    A mighty vessel, built to face the elements at the ends of the Earth, bravely facing danger and Hardships for the advancement of the knowledge of Mankind, needs a properly fitting name.

    Therefore I propose naming it after the primal Lord of the Elder Gods of the Greeks:

    RSS Titan Uranus

    ?? What's all that tittering in the back for?

  48. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
    Coat

    RSS Pellinore

    - all they'll find of the ice is fewmets.

  49. Graham Cunningham

    RSS Potent Voyager

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about RSS Harry McNish?

    If it wasn't for his carpentry skills Shackelton's Expedition would still be in the Antarctic.

    Also go someways towards redressing the injustice of being denied the polar medal and dying

    in poverty on the docks in New Zealand.

  51. The First Dave

    Been suggested already, but in the best possible British Spirit (TM) it should clearly be RSS Lawrence Oates.

  52. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

    British Polar

    The British Polar Engine Company not only installed its first Diesel engine in a motor ship in 1907, it also powered the first motor ship to cross the Atlantic. The Polar name arose because they also powered Amundsen's Fram, so the connection with the poles is indeed strong.

    The company since then has powered a lot of ships and submarines.

    It would be nice to honour the unglamorous end of the expedition business, the bit that actually keeps things moving.

  53. The March Hare

    Dr John Rae

    A sadly forgotten and reviled explorer, purely 'cos he theorised that Franklin's crew indulged in a bit of long pig - which upset the Victorian sensibility...

  54. Palf

    Icebuster

    Icebuster

  55. Robert E A Harvey

    update

    Allegedly the poll is currently topped by "Boaty McBoatface"

  56. EastFinchleyite

    RRS Iain Duncan Smith

    Named because of its ability to pull out backwards if it runs into unbreakable obstacles..

    I think this all the more pleasing than my first idea which was RRS Rohypnol - An icebreaker that uses force when persuasion and reasoning doesn't work.

  57. WonkoTheSane

    Poll site fall down, go boom

    Silly wins again!

    How about RRS Michael Palin, or RRS Jeremy Clarkson. Both have links to that part of the world.

  58. This post has been deleted by its author

  59. dajames Silver badge

    I'd go for RRS William Speirs Bruce as the leader of the Scotia Expedition -- the only British Antarctic expedition to complete on time and on budget and achieve all its mission objectives with no loss of life. It's about time that expedition had more recognition.

    Must be a good omen, Shirley?

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