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Kotug Smit assisted in the launching of RRS Sir David Attenborough

Jul 23, 2018, 1:32 PM

Kotug Smit Towage assisted in the launching of RRS Sir David Attenborough

On 14 July 2018, a major milestone in the build of the UK’s state-of-the-art polar research ship was reached, when the 129-metre long, 10,000 tonne hull of the RRS Sir David Attenborough was launched into the River Mersey.

Once launched and in the River Mersey, the Kotug Smit tugs Smit Barbados, Smit Waterloo, Smit Belgie and Smit Sandon made fast and then towed hull number 1390 to the Cammell Laird wet basin for the next stages of construction. The polar research ship is scheduled to come into operation in 2019.

Prior to the start of operations, meetings were held with representatives, to discuss all safety aspects of the launching operation and the transit from the shipyard. This resulted in an overview of the required operational preparations and procedures, outlined responsibilities, communications and nautical restrictions.

Phil Dulson, General Manager Kotug Smit Towage UK said: A smooth cooperation between all teams involved contributed to the successful and safe launching of the RRS Sir David Attenborough. Well done to everyone involved with the planning, preparation and execution of this launching.

Paul Murphy, Towage Operator of Kotug Smit Towage in Liverpool was responsible for the preparations and coordination between the tugs during the launching operation. He explained: “This project was a truly special towage operation. Prior to the launching operation, we made special ropes and calculated the lengths for a safe execution and secured the lines at the stern of the hull. The crews aboard excelled with the upmost professionalism, from attending meetings, helping with the plan to carrying out this job. It was an honour for us all to be a part of this prestigious project.”

Photo courtesy: British Antarctic Survey


The 129-meter vessel was commissioned by the Natural Environment Research Council (part of UK Research and Innovation), built by Cammell Laird and operated by British Antarctic Survey, this is the biggest shipbuilding contract in Britain for 30 years.

The RSS Sir David Attenborough will use sophisticated technology to monitor polar activity. The RRS Sir David Attenborough will deliver world-leading research to help tackle the environmental challenges, including climate change and protecting the oceans.

More info about the RSS Sir David Attenborough project: