RRS Bransfield

From SpottingWorld, the Hub for the SpottingWorld network...
RRS Bransfield
Career (UK) Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Name: RRS Bransfield
Namesake: Edward Bransfield
Operator: British Antarctic Survey
Port of registry: Port Stanley
Route: Antarctic Research and Logistics
Builder: Robb Caledon Shipbuilders Ltd, Leith
Yard number: 508[1]
Launched: 4 September 1970 by Lady Joyce Fuchs, wife of the then Director of the Survey
Homeport: Stanley, Falkland Islands
Identification: IMO number: 5029079
callsign: ZDLG[2]
Fate: sold to Rieber Shipping A/S in 1999
Notes: [3]
General characteristics
Class and type:

Royal Research Ship

Type: Ice Strengthened, steel hull[2]
Displacement: 4816 gross, 1577 net
Length: 325 ft (99 m)
Beam: 60 ft (18 m)
Draught: 22 ft (6.7 m)
Ice class: Lloyds 100 A1 Ice Class 1*[2]
Installed power:

Diesel-electric 5000 SHP

6400 bhp per engine[2]
Propulsion: single variable pitch propeller
Speed: 13.25 knots (2 engines)
10.75 knots (1 engine)
Endurance: 55 days (2 engines)
90 days (1 engine)[2]
Capacity: 3450 m3[2]
Complement: 24 crew; 13 officers; 58 expeditioners

RRS Bransfield was an ice-strengthened cargo vessel, purpose-built for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).


RRS Bransfield was designed by consultants Graham & Woolnaugh of Liverpool for NERC, and built by Robb Caledon Shipbuilders Ltd, Leith. She was named after Edward Bransfield RN (1785-1852), who discovered the north west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, roughly surveyed the South Shetland Islands, claiming King George Island and Clarence Island for Great Britain. Bransfield was the first man to chart part of the Antarctic mainland.[3]

This was the second vessel to be named after Bransfield by BAS or its predecessors. The first was HMS Bransfield, the original expedition ship for Operation Tabarin, a secret British expedition to Antarctica during World War Two. It established the first permanent British bases on the Antarctic Peninsula and became the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey in 1945 (renamed BAS in 1962). This vessel was a wooden Norwegian sealer built in 1918 as the Veslekari, and renamed for the expedition.[4] Her service with Tabarin was inglorious - she proved to be unseaworthy, and had to be replaced before the expedition left English waters in November 1943.

In 1993/94, while in the Weddell Sea Bransfield suffered an engine room fire.[5]

In May 1999, she was sold to Rieber Shipping A/S as part of the contract for the long-term charter of her replacement, RRS Ernest Shackleton.


RRS Bransfield was BAS's main supply vessel for 29 years, from 1970/71 to 1998/99. She also had limited facilities for on-board research. There was a fully equipped hospital bay on-board.[2]

For much of her career her joint Masters were John Cole and Stewart Laurence.[6][7] Bransfield represented NERC in the Review of the Fleet at Spithead in 1977, held to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's jubilee.


External links