RRS Bransfield - Detailed Information

RRS Bransfield was named after Edward Bransfield, Master, RN (1785-1852). Bransfield was the first person to chart any part of the Antarctic mainland. The ship was constructed in 1970 by Robb Caledon of Leith as an ice-strengthened cargo ship. She was operated by BAS as the major supply vessel for the Antarctic stations, delivering not only the food and scientific equipment but also materials for the upkeep of the stations. There was a fully equipped hospital on-board the vessel.

The RRS Bransfield departed from the port of Grimsby, on the east coast of the United Kingdom, on the 17th October 1998 and did not return until early May 1999. From Grimsby the vessel headed south, via the English Channel and the west coast of Europe until reaching the northern coast of Africa, from where a westerly heading was made towards St.Peter and Paul Rocks, then on to the coast of South America, following it down until the port of Montevideo, Uruguay, was reached some three weeks later. The visit here was to collect fresh provisions and embark passengers for onward movement to the Antarctic stations.

From Montevideo it is only a four day passage to the Falkland Islands, where the vessel was registered, and returned some five times during the Antarctic summer season. During the course of the 1998/99 season the vessel visited Signy Island, South Georgia and Bird Island, Halley, the German station at Neumayer, Port Lockroy, Damoy, Rothera and the Ukrainian station at Vernadsky.

Photograph of RRS Bransfield

Technical Details

Year built 1970
Ice classification Lloyds 100 A1 Ice Class 1*
Dimensions Length 99.2m
Breadth 18.4m
Draught 6.7m
Tonnage 4816 gross
1577 nett
Passage Speed 13.25 knots (2 engines)
10.75 knots (1 engine)
Endurance 55 days (2 engines)
90 days (1 engine)
Cargo capacity 3450m3
Scientific areas Laboratories 15m2
Accomodation Officers 13
Crew 24
Staff on passage 59
Annual days at sea 234 (average)
International callsign ZDLG
Vessel operation areas Atlantic, Antarctic, Weddell Sea, Scotia Sea
Capacities Dry cargo holds 969m3
Fuel 862m3
Fresh water 364m3
Main engines Diesel electric
Power (per engine) 6400bhp at 500rpm
Propeller diameter 4.0m
Propeller max speed 300rpm
Auxiliary diesels total power 950hp
Hull materials Steel
Navigational equipment Radar
Communications Inmarsat B terminal (phone/fax/high speed data)
Full GMDSS station

Last updated 10/02/1999 - webmaster@dartcom.co.uk