With the launch of RRS Sir David Attenborough it seems fitting to highlight the other supply and scientific research vessels used by BAS over the years and noted in the APC Gazetteer. RRS John Biscoe was used by BAS from 1956 to 1991, and was the second Antarctic vessel to be named after John Biscoe, Master, RN (1794-1843) who landed on Anvers Island in 1832. Biscoe Bay (63°48’58”W, 64°48’ S) and Biscoe Islands (66°21’51”W, 66°01’57”S) are named after the famous explorer. Rothera’s Biscoe Wharf was named after the ship itself, which was the first vessel to use the new facility in 1991. The RRS Bransfield, built as a replacement to the RRS Shackleton (1955-69), was used from 1970 to 1999. She was named after Edward Bransfield, Master, RN who discovered the area now known as the Bransfield Strait and the first part of continental Antarctica seen by man, Trinity Peninsula.
These ships were replaced by our current vessels, RSS Ernest Shackleton and RRS James Clark Ross. Both named after famed explorers, their names are reflected in other areas of the continent such as Mount Shackleton (63°55’22”W, 65°12’28”S), and James Ross Island (57°54’W, 64°09’S). Finally, Sir David Attenborough has also got a place name in Antarctic – the Attenborough Strait runs between Charcot Island and Latady Island. This strait opened up following the partial break-up of the Wilkins Ice Shelf in 2009, and was named in 2010.