The RRS James Clark Ross moored at the new wharf at Rothera Research Station

New wharf in Antarctica ready for RRS Sir David Attenborough

A new £40 million wharf to moor the RRS Sir David Attenborough has been completed at the British Antarctic Survey’s Rothera Research Station in Antarctica.

The RRS James Clark Ross moored at the new wharf at Rothera Research Station. Photo: BAS

The wharf has been used by polar ships for the first time to transport staff and materials back to the UK.

A specialist team of engineers, divers, builders and project managers built the 74 meter wharf over 18 months. The team from construction partners and designers of the wharf, BAM, with the support of Sweco and technical advisors, Ramboll, completed the construction. Turner & Townsend provided cost management for the project.

The first ships to make use of the wharf at Rothera Research Station is the RRS James Clark Ross on its resupply call, along with the MV Billesborg carrying cargo for ongoing construction projects.

The new wharf will enable the RRS Sir David Attenborough to bring vital supplies and people to Rothera Research Station and help the station run more efficiently with a new crane to launch small science boats, a personnel gangway and a floating pontoon to deploy scientific instruments.

“This is a major milestone in our modernisation programme to support the UK’s critical scientific research on the polar continent for generations to come. Antarctica is a challenging environment and it is testament to the skills and flexibility of the partnership that we have completed another successful season.”

Jane Francis, director of British Antarctic Survey .

“It’s been a privilege to be involved in this unique project, working alongside BAS and the other partners in Antarctica for the past two seasons. It’s been a highlight of my career and one of the most exciting projects for the whole team. Working in one of the world’s harshest climates has had its challenges, but it’s been a pleasure to work as part of an integrated team where we all shared a common goal. I’m very proud of our team and how everyone worked together to make sure our spirits, health and wellbeing were all taken care of.”

Martha McGowan, Rothera Wharf project manager at BAM.

The new wharf is part of the long-term Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme (AIMP), commissioned by the National Environment Research Council (NERC), which aims to keep the UK at the forefront of climate, biodiversity and ocean research. The wharf equipment will be formally commissioned and accepted later this year.