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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 February 2007, 13:38 GMT
40m ocean research ship named
RRS James Cook
The RRS James Cook is to make its first voyage next month
A 40m ship designed for oceanographic research to monitor climate change has been formally named.

The Southampton-based RRS James Cook has been described as the "world's most advanced research ship" by the Natural Environment Research Council.

It replaces the RRS Darwin which spent 21 years circumnavigating the globe.

Princess Anne named the RRS James Cook in a ceremony at the National Oceanographic Centre, ahead of its maiden voyage next month.

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), who will manage the ship, said it will carry scientists to remote areas of the globe.

'Develop antibiotics'

Professor Alan Thorpe, of NERC, said: "With oceans covering around three quarters of the Earth, ships like these are vital for the research community.

"They can reach places that would otherwise be impossible to explore.

"They allow us to discover micro-organisms that could, for example, be used to develop new antibiotics.

"And they help us to monitor and understand changes in the oceans that affect temperature and climate."

The ship's first project is to aid in monitoring the mid-Atlantic ridge, to gather information on the Earth's crust.




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Princess Anne names the RRS James Cook



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