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It should make for quite a splash!
The 10,000-tonne hull of the UK’s new polar ship will be put in the River Mersey later – around 12:20 BST.
Named after the TV naturalist Sir David Attenborough, the vessel has been assembled at the Cammell Laird yard in Birkenhead and placed on its slipway.
The broadcaster himself will be asked to unleash his steel namesake – pushing the button that sends the hull sliding down wooden rails which have been caked in thick grease.
The hull will go in stern-first and should create a big wave as it bites the water just as the Mersey reaches high tide.
Cammell Laird has had the riverbed dredged in front of its slipway to make sure the steel mass does not bottom out.
Saturday is an important milestone for the ship, whose development has been followed closely since an online campaign tried to get it named “Boaty McBoatface”.
Ministers intervened to insist on a more appropriate name – but that has not dampened the interest in what is the largest commercial ship to be built in Britain in three decades.
“She’s like a giant Airfix model,” said Cammell Laird project manager John Drummond. “She’s being put together with one million pieces of steel, 30km of piping, 5,000 valves, and 450km of cabling.”
The steelwork going in the water represents the lower-decks of the Attenborough and the components whose great size meant they had to be encapsulated during the build. This included the vessel’s huge diesel-electric Rolls-Royce engines.
Tugs will be on hand to catch the hull as it floats out into the Mersey. They will then move the structure to the company’s “wet basin”.
It is here that the upper-decks will be attached, together will all