26 Apr 2014

New icebreaker to be built by Britain

6:02 am on 26 April 2014

Britain is to build a new polar research ship for the Antarctic and Arctic regions.

Chancellor George Osborne announced the £200 million investment at a speech in Cambridge. The new icebreaker will replace two existing vessels nearing the end of their service life.

The BBC reports it should be ready to enter service in 2019 and will support scientists in both the Antarctic and the Arctic.

The strength of its hull will allow it to push deeper into pack ice than any previous British research vessel.

The Royal Research Ship James Clark Ross was built in 1990 and the RRS Ernest Shackleton, in 1995. The latter is leased from a Norwegian company.

The Natural Environment Research Council wants to operate both ships until at least the end of the decade.