Equipped to explore some of the planet's most inhospitable regions, RRS James Cook will take as many as 31 scientists to the edge of the ice sheets and to tropical waters.
The state-of-the-art, 5,300-tonne vessel, commissioned by owners, the Natural Environment Research Council and built in Norway by Flekkefjord Slipp & Maskinfabrikk, was delivered at the end of August 2006. Operated by 23 officers and crew, RRS James Cook can spend up to 50 days at sea. It replaces RRS Charles Darwin.
Commodore David Lewis, who heads the National Marine Facilities Division at NOCS, said: "This magnificent vessel represents a major investment in marine science by NERC and is a major step forward in capability to carry out scientific research".
Following the naming, the Princess Royal will be shown round the ship by Captain Robin Plumley and will meet guests at NOCS.
The first science mission of the deep-diving vessel, Isis is underway. Capable of diving to depths of 6,500m, Isis will be trawling the icy depths of Antarctica looking at the effects of glaciers on the ocean floor and finding out about the animals that inhabit these waters.
RRS James Cook berthed outside NOCS.