10 years ago the Royal Research Ship, also known as RRS Discovery touched the waters of Vigo for the first time in its launching ceremony. Built for the Natural Environment Research Council of the United Kingdom, she was considered in 2013 one of the most modern oceanographic research vessels in the world. She was also awarded as the most outstanding ship built in Spain in 2013 by the website Ingenierosnavales.com.
With almost 100 meters in length, she has capacity for 24 crew members and 28 scientists. This ship also has 400 square meters of laboratories prepared to carry out complex scientific and research missions at great depths. Inside it there is a main laboratory, a controlled environment laboratory, a chemical laboratory, dry and wet laboratories, among others. In addition, the RRS Discovery can carry a maximum of 13 containerized laboratories on her deck.
The RRS Discovery also has to lift loads, with a large aft gantry and a parallelogram side gantry, cranes for handling materials on deck and a large crane. Regarding winches, this oceanographic vessel includes a sampling and trawling system at different depths and a CTD system (conductivity, temperature and depth). In its composition, four diesel electric generators of 1,770 kW each feed the ship’s systems and two motors of 2,200 kW each feed the two azimuthal thrusters. Efficiency was important in the construction of the RRS Discovery, so the plant was taken into account to minimize CO2 emissions and reduce electrical losses.
The ship also includes a 1,350 kW retractable azimuthal propulsion system at the bow, and a 1,575 kW waterjet, in order to eliminate the bubbles generated by other propellants, and which interfere with the results of the acoustic measurements.
The hull of the ship is made of steel, while the bridge is built of aluminum. The RRS Discovery can reach 15 knots at her top speed and 12 knots at cruising speed.