Talk about Boaty McBoatface at Chilly McConferenceface in June
Or: Find out why the UK’s new as-yet-unnamed survey vessel and others like it are vital for Arctic operations at a respected international symposium in June
The UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is awaiting the delivery of its new 15,000-tonne, 128m-long survey vessel, which is designed to sail the Arctic carrying a team of 90 scientists and support staff. The new vessel will replace Royal Research Ships (RRS) Ernest Shackleton and James Clark Ross, although it is not expected to be delivered until 2019. In the meantime, NERC offered the public the chance to suggest names for its new £200 million state-of-the-art vessel. Leading naval authorities, such as Lord West, are hoping it will be named after an accomplished Arctic or Antarctic explorer.
Boaty McBoatface is currently topping the poll.
The story made headlines this week after NERC’s crowd-search took an unexpected direction with the name getting over 27,000 votes. Despite enjoying the publicity, an internal NERC panel seems set on officially naming the vessel. Which is probably for the best.
Although not in the news because of anything to do with its operational role, the vessel represents an important investment in research and data gathering in the High North. It will significantly boost the UK’s oceanographic capabilities in the increasingly important Arctic region.
In a statement NERC said: “Tonne-for-tonne, the ship - together with NERC's existing two blue water research ships - will provide the UK with the most advanced floating research fleet in the world and will help put the UK at the forefront of ocean research for years to come.”
Activity in the Arctic has been gradually increasing for the last few years due to adventure tourism, shipping exploration, and resource exploitation. The opportunities in the region have caused a number of nations to take note as the benefits of quicker shipping routes and access to natural resources becomes more evident. Up to 25% of the world’s undiscovered oil reserves are believed to lie in the Arctic.
Nations are seeking to bolster their presence in the Arctic and are now actively investing in technologies and capabilities to give them an edge.
That is what our targeted Arctic conference is all about.
But in the spirit of democracy and inclusion, Defence IQ is offering you the chance to rename this year’s Arctic Patrol and Reconnaissance 2016 event (7-9 June - Copenhagen), which will provide a unique opportunity for industry to understand priorities and requirements in the region and engage with military leaders. Internal discussions here are leaning towards Chilly McConferenceface or Eventy McFrostface, but send other ideas in because we’re open to suggestions.*
*No we’re not.