Pole to pole
The Sir David Attenborough has been creating waves around the world since its maiden voyage. Developed for the British Antarctic Survey, it’s the latest in a line of polar vessels designed by Kongsberg Maritime, and is an extraordinary showcase for our exceptional expertise.
CRAIG TAYLORSenior Manager PR & Communications
Senior Ship Designer Erik Leenders explains the challenges and complexities faced when designing such special-purpose ships.
Erik Leenders admits that there are many challenges in designing polar vessels.
Designing a research ice-breaker is not an easy task.
Kronprins Haakon was the first Norwegian icebreaker designed for polar research
Built according to Polar Class 3 and meeting the Polar Code.
Nowhere is the complexity of polar design more evident than in Kongsberg Maritime’s research vessels, the Kronprins Haakon.
Years of expertise have gone into the design of the Sir David Attenborough.
Comfort is key at sea
Designing to suit the ship’s purpose may be more complex on a research vessel, but it’s an equally important first principle for any ship. On a tug, for example, design will be led by the towing winch, bollard and propulsion configuration. On a cargo vessel, it’s built around where and how the cargo will be stored. On a CSOV (for wind farm support) the primary consideration is the walkway, and safety is of course a key consideration in every case. For polar vessels, which operate in high seas and incredibly challenging conditions, there’s one other thing that needs to be remembered – comfort for passengers and crew in working, recreational and rest environments. Roll reduction tanks to reduce roll to a few degrees, for example, improving safety keeping seasickness at bay. There are also considerations around noise, vibration, ventilation, temperature control, and storage and preparation of provisions. “Comfort is very important,” says Erik. “Scientists and tourists are not necessarily used to being at sea, so we need to consider how to make their environment as comfortable as we can, so they can enjoy the trip and perform their work effectively. “That might include an anti-roll design, large mess areas, built-in lounges with bars, gymnasiums and saunas. Where needed, we’ll create an on-board hospital, and for polar operations these are much more extensive. Cabins are spacious, with their own TVs and bathrooms. It all makes a difference to life on board, especially in the wildest seas on the planet.”