top
The Loftsman
 
 
 
 
Leith Shipyards

A history of the Ships built at the Henry Robb Shipyard in Leith, Scotland. Also a testimony to the men who built the Ships and to all who sailed in them.
 
     
     You are here:
Home Ships Built in Leith 1946 to 1984 RRS BRANSFIELD - Yard No 508 - Antarctic Survey Vessel - N.E.R.C. - Built 1970
 
 

Leith Shipyards

 
Site Meter
 
 
RRS BRANSFIELD - Yard No 508 - Antarctic Survey Vessel - N.E.R.C. - Built 1970

 Bransfield-thru-the-ice


RSS BRANSFIELD (Ship No 508)

A special vessel that the British Isles
Could well do with nowadays.
Built as a merchant ship but with ice strengthened bows.

 

 BRANSFIELD smashes through the pack ice.

 

 
Owners    N.E.R.C.
           
Registered    Falkland Islands Keel Laid    
Type of Ship    Antarctic Survey Ship Launched    04/09/1970
      Handed Over    31/12/1970
Ship Details          
Length Overall    99.2m Launch Details    
Length B.P.    90 m Weather    
Beam    18.3m Time to Water    
Depth Mld     9.5m      
Draught    6.7m      
G.R.T.    4816      
DWT    3440      
           
Engines  

 Diesel-electric 5000 SHP

     
Props    1      
Speed    14 knots      
           
Other known names   1999 Igen Pearl    
           
Current Status   Broken up in Mumbia India 2000    
Content on the RSS BRANSFIELD will be added as and when available. 
 

Bransfields_Leaves_Maggies_ 

The RRS BRANSFIELD leaving Maggies Ditch in Antarctica

(Photo courtesy of Graeme Hart)

 

 

Ships History

Once a ship had been built and launched she then had to be out-fitted, and then complete sea trials
before being handed over to her new owners, who would look to have that ship at sea, as long as possible to
pay for her build costs and of course to make the company good profits.

To this end one company may have had no requirement for a particular ship after a time and would then sell her
on just like any other disposable commodity.

Hence a ship may have had a few owners and would go through many changes and names during what was
hoped for a long and successful working life.

The ice breaker BRANSFIELD was ordered by the NERC to be built at the Leith Shipyards of Robb Caledon and she was designed by the same Naval Architechs who designed the previous SPEEDWAY Ship No 507. She was in fact an ice strenghtend ship and not a pure ice breaker.

She was in the fitting out basin at the yard being finished when I started there, this basin was always at the same depth of water with the dock gates at Leith being in use by this time and it also meant that ships could be launched at Leith without needing to wait on the tide. 

RRS Bransfield, 4816 grt (1577 tons net), was built at Leith, Scotland and launched on 4th September 1970. She is an ice strengthened cargo ship of Lloyds 100 A1 Ice Class 1 classification. Her length is 325 feet, beam 60 feet and draught 22 feet with a service speed of 13½ knots on two engines. She has a cargo capacity of 3450m3 with research laboratories and a conference and computer room. Her duties, following annual discharge of cargo at Halley, are to supply and transport cargo and personnel, insert coastal depots and support coastal survey and geological research parties principally in the region of the Antarctic Peninsula.

RRS Bransfield was BAS's main supply vessel for 29 years, from 1970/71 to 1998/99. She also had limited facilities for on-board research.

She was the second survey ship to be named after Edward Bransfield RN (1785-1852), who discovered the North West coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, roughly surveyed the South Shetland Islands, claiming King George Island and Clarence Island for Great Britain.

Edward Bransfield was the first man to chart part of the Antarctic mainland.

There was a fully equipped hospital bay on-board.

For much of her career her joint Masters were John Cole and Stewart Laurence. Bransfield represented NERC in the Review of the Fleet at Spithead in 1977, held to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's Jubilee.

 

Bransfield_Dry-Dock 

 

RRS BRANSFIELD is shown here in dry dock at Bethlehem Shipyard, Baltimore. During her Atlantic crossing from Southampton to North America in 1974, prior to heading south to Antarctica, hurricane force winds damaged her rudder post. She remained in dry dock for 3 weeks whilst repairs were undertaken.

This photograph shows the shape of her raked stem, shaped to aid getting through the ice.

(Photograph by Clive Sweetingham and shown here with his permission) 

The BRANSFIELD or Branny as the men and women who sailed on her used to call her was a special ship designed and built for special work in some of the toughest weather conditions in the World.

The ravages of the Southern Oceans could batter a less well equipped ship into an early visit to the breakers yard as had been see a few years earlier when two ex Robb ships working with the New Zealand Navy as weather/look out ships for aircraft going to Antarctica found out. After a few years in the conditions found down there the Loch Class ships had so much damage done to their hulls that they were removed from service.

 

Bransfield_Arrives_At_Maggi

 

BRANSFIELD arrives at Maggies Ditch in Antarctica

(Photo by Greame Hart and shown here with permission) 

We try here to give as full an account of her history as time and research permits, if you know of missing info
or you have any photographs of her, then please get in touch and we shall update her story as we go along.

  

 

The BRANSFIELD of course was strengthened with an ice breaking bow which meant that apart from her normal frame spacing she had intermediate framing as well.

This coupled with the shape of her stem would allow the ship to ride up onto pack ice and use the forward movement and weight of the ship to break though the ice.

She was the only ship in the British Isles equipped to go to the frozen regions of the World, and now with the discovery of oil and of course the possibilities of ships going through the Artic Ocean to deliver cargo's then ice breakers will become more important in the future, but now the U.K. has to rely on a converted Norwegian ship to carry her interests in the region.

Bransfield_Tied_Up_94-95 

 

BRANSFIELD ties up at Maggies Ditch 1994-95

(Photo by Greame Hart) 

 

 

Furthest-South-Notice

 

The above note was pinned on the notice board on BRANSFIELD to tell the crew that she had reached the furthest South that a ship at that time had achieved, it showns the Lat, and Long, she was at in the Weddell Sea. Yet another "first" achieved by a Leith built ship at Henry Robb.

Sent into the website by Ivan Stevenson and shown here with his permission.

BRANSFIELD had a service life of around 29 years in the most punishing environment imaginable for the wear and tear on a ship and the fact that she lasted so long is a testament to her builders and to the crews who maintained her over her working career.

   

 
FBC_On_Sea_Ice_Bransfield

 

 

FBC on the sea ice with the BRANSFIELD in the distance Feb 1994

 

(photo by Greame Hart)

 

 

 

Tales from the Ship

Here you will find the stories from the men and women who sailed on the ships, what was it really like to be working on a ship in a raging sea and in the pitch dark of night, the real stories some funny some sad, some good and some bad.

Dedicated to all the brave men and women who sailed the vessels from the Leith Shipyards.

 

Antarctic Survey Story

 

As told by Graeme Hart-British Antarctic Survey Team member.

As it turns out, my Uncle was a foreman in a yard in Southampton and used to
refit Bransfield years ago. When I told him I was sailing to Antarctica from
Grimsby he said "Not on the Bransfield I hope!” He was joking. It was a
fine ship, though nearing the end of her service and I think she needed a
bigger and bigger refit each year.

 
I distinctly remember sailing from Grimsby to Tyneside on the Branny for
its refit. I was being trained on the Meteorological equipment. When we
arrived she was put into dry dock and I was surprised to see that the red
paint ended at the water line.

Months later when we were sailing through the sea ice in the Weddell sea I
saw the red paint that they had replaced at Tyneside on all the sea ice in
our wake. I guess it was obvious when you think about it but it looked odd
to see the sea ice rubbing the paint off the ship. I had assumed that they
had ice proof paint, bearing in mind that she was an ice strengthened ship.

 

 

Bransfield_Lowers_Tula_95 

BRANSFIELD lowers Tula at Maggies Ditch 1994

(photo by Greame Hart) 

After off loading cargo at Signy in the South Orkneys the forward cargo hold
was quite empty. We put up a table tennis table and used to play ping pong
in there as the ice scraped the hull either side of us. It was quite eerie.

The ping pong didn't really last long as every time the ship rammed a sheet
of sea ice it all went wrong and we lost the ball under a crate. It was also
rather cold in there - the sea was below zero.

We got stuck in the Ice in November and were eventually freed by a Russian
ice breaker which was on hire to tourists. We helped them out by sending our
doctor over to help with a patient and they returned the favour by clearing
a path through the ice. This was in the Weddell sea which is where
Shackleton got trapped with the Endurance so many years before. Our ordeal
only lasted two days - it is hard to imagine what it was like for them.

One of the saddest things I've ever seen - the Bransfield disappearing into
the distance in February.

One of the happiest things I've ever seen - the Bransfield hoving to into view
in December.

In between those two - nine months of isolation at Halley.

Should you know of anyone who may have sailed on her, then please feel free to get in touch so that we can add the story here.

 

<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 Next > End >>
(Page 1 of 3)
scroll back to top
 

Comments   

 
0 #8 Andrew Denley 2014-03-31 14:56
I sailed south in the Branny - October 1979 and returned in her May 1981. I remember Tim Leggett, Captain Cole and Stewart Laurence -whatever happened to Kevin Vicars? Last time I saw her I was with the FCO in Montevideo and had he pleasure of going aboard to take the official Embassy papers. I was at Rothera base when she hit submerged rocks and then sailed north in her to Argentine Islands. Happy days!
Quote
 
 
+1 #7 Howard Stoneham 2013-10-25 05:14
I sailed on the maiden voyage of the Bransfield. She took me to Halley Bay where I served as a tractor / diesel mechanic for two years. I returned to Southampton in May 73. The most fun I have ever had.
Quote
 
 
0 #6 Lauren Herschell 2013-04-10 12:36
My dad sailed on the Bransfield, it was before I was born in 1982- so it would be late 70's early 80's. His name is Paul Herschell. Be nice to know if anybody remembers him?
Quote
 
 
+2 #5 daz beck 2013-04-03 21:33
i sailed on this great ship RSS BRANSFIELD,an met so many great people, i hope i gave them some fantastic an funny memories,as they have me , :lol:
Quote
 
 
0 #4 TIM LEGGETT 2012-06-09 14:47
I sailed as Second Steward in RRS Bransfield during her 1978/79 season.. Still one of the best years of my life.. John Cole and Stewart Lawrence were the Masters who changed over at Punta Arenas during our season.. I keep seeing a ship called CCGS AMUNDSEN of the Canadian Coast Guard on Mighty Ships.. She looks almost identical to Bransfield but twin screw and other modifications.. They must have used Bransfield's plans for this ship as dear old Branny has now been broken up.. Almost a sister ship but with a helicopter house over the after hatch..
Quote
 
 
+1 #3 ivan stevenson 2012-04-05 18:49
Bransfield reached the furthest south for a british ship when she was nearing Halley bay on her maiden voyage ,as we sailed into Port Stanley the islands local passenger ship DARWIN was leaving for the last time .
Quote
 
 
-1 #2 TOM BLAIR 2012-01-08 15:40
I WAS IN CHARGE OF THE SMALL ESCORT THAT BROUGHT LEN MINTO BACK TO UK TO SERVE HIS SENTENCE FOR MURDER IN PORT STANLEY. THIS WAS APRIL/MAY 1981.
Quote
 
 
0 #1 Shirley McLennan 2011-07-28 18:29
John Cole and his family were neighbours of ours near Oban many years ago whilst he was on the Bransfield and we remember them with much fondness and fun parties at their house!
Quote
 

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Shopping Cart
 
Your Cart is currently empty.
 
Search Our Archives
 
Latest Articles
Latest Comments
 
  • @ Tim Coetzee. Do you recall if the German Tug was... More...
  • I was 3rd mate on the WW in 1984. Chris Liggett wa... More...
  • Anyone of you got a Picture of the vessel ww Towed... More...
  • Hi , my great uncle was the captain at the time of... More...
  • My father was mentioned in dispatches on HMS Storn... More...
 
 
Custom Web Design by Fresheverything
Copyright © 2014 The Loftsman. All Rights Reserved.
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL License.
 


hardcore sex star hardcore sex video teen porn watch dark porn free sex teen porn