The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is to receive a new ship, the RRS Sir David Attenborough, in 2019. In preparation for the new vessel, Natural Environment Research Council has hired Ramboll to provide technical consultancy support and options to the upgrade of BAS’s wharf and jetties facilities, as well as provide technical advice to the team shifting the Halley Research Station and a number of other matters. The deal will last seven years – financial details of the agreement have not been disclosed.
The British Antarctic Survey was formed in the 1960s. BAS, which is part of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), has a number of permanent establishments in the Antarctica where it provides bases for research projects, run by more than 40 UK universities and 120 global organisations into a range of key issues. The organisation operates five bases across the Antarctic and local islands, two icebreaker ships and five planes. An additional ship, the RRS Sir David Attenborough, is currently under construction, and is set to be operational by 2019.
As part of the funding for the new ship, support facilities in the Antarctic at various basis are to be upgraded or replaced, including wharf and jetties at BAS Antarctic and sub-Antarctic research stations. The upgrades will allow the new ship to safely berth and deploy its cargo. BAS is also moving parts of its Halley Research Station (HRS) on the Brunt Ice Shelf.
To develop options for the upgrade and to provide technical advice to teams involved in the moving of the HRS as well as advice on a number of other building, energy efficiency and logistical projects, NERC has hired professional services firm Ramboll. The seven year contract will see the firm offer specialist engineering and consultancy services to BAS. To perform the task the firm is sending in a multidisciplinary team to carry out the surveys and onsite support needed for the work – the team is keeping in mind that the seventh continent is one of the most desolate places on earth, with temperatures between 5°C to -60°C.
Dave Grove, Project Director at Ramboll says that the firm is “incredibly excited” to be working with such a ground-breaking research organisation. “BAS and Ramboll share many goals, including our desire to innovate and collaborate to deliver long-standing solutions that help both people and nature to flourish in our changing world,” he adds.
Speaking on Ramboll’s appointment, Tim Stockings, BAS Director of Operations says, ”The UK Government is making a major investment in Britain’s polar research capability. The commission by NERC of the RRS Sir David Attenborough provides an opportunity to modernise and upgrade our Antarctic infrastructure. The appointment of Ramboll brings specialist expertise to our in-house teams. We look forward to working together to develop and deliver well-engineered facilities that meet our shared ambitions for sustainability and excellence.”