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research vessel james cook completes overhaul of  its twin rudders and steering gear 01

UK RRS ‘James Cook’ completes rudder overhaul at Damen Shiprepair Amsterdam

23 July 2022

The Royal Research Ship (RRS) James Cook – named after the 18th century British naval captain and explorer - has recently completed a two-week, annual maintenance programme at Damen Shiprepair Amsterdam (DSAm). A significant part of the works was the complete overhaul of its twin rudders and steering gear. The 89.5 metre, 5,401 GT vessel is operated by the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council and entered service in 2006 to replace the ageing RRS Charles Darwin. Her role is to undertake a wide role of oceanic and atmospheric research activities from the equator to the polar icecaps using the latest equipment and sensors. As such, she spends extended periods at sea in all weathers with teams of scientists and researchers on board.

Following an assignment in the South Atlantic, the RSS James Cook arrived at DSAm. As part of the two-week maintenance programme her flap rudders, designed and built by Damen Marine Components (DMC), were given their first complete overall in 15, very active, years. The rudders were removed from the vessel and taken away to be fully disassembled and inspected. Parts showing wear were overhauled, including the worn out rudder stocks.

Excellent manoeuvrability

DMC’s BARKE® flap rudders are specifically designed for ships engaged in activities such as research, fishing and dredging that require excellent manoeuvrability along with first-rate fuel economy. Their progressively rotating flaps generate high lift forces at large rudder angles and low drag at small rudder angles, delivering the necessary performance in all situations. The enclosed linkage system also provides overload protection and eliminates the risk of sand, ice and floating objects entering the rudder assembly.

DMC successfully completed the service project within the two weeks available and the flap rudders are now as good as new once again.

The next assignment for the RRS James Cook will be participating in a project researching the processes that form and preserve minerals of strategic importance to the transition to low-carbon societies. But wherever she is in the world in the future, she will be able to access Damen’s global network of Service Hubs for repairs to her rudders as well as any other systems that require repair or maintenance. With the Service Hubs spread across five continents, the Natural Environment Research Council can be confident that their key maritime assets will be assured of maximum uptime and availability from the Arctic to Antarctica.