A FAMOUS research vessel familiar to Harwich residents has hit the airwaves... before making its way to the Antarctic.

BBC Radio four presenters joined the crew of the RRS Sir David Attenborough ship at its home port to record Costing the Earth, presented by Dr Helen Czerski.

The ship is the UK’s latest research vessel and is home to the British robotic autosub known as ‘Boaty McBoatface’.

The ship weighs in at 15,000 tonnes and is 129 metres long, can carry two helicopters, 30 crew and 60 scientists or support staff.

Dr Czerski says it could be a game changer for climate research.

The RRS Sir David Attenborough is currently on its first voyage to Antarctica.

The vessel has specialised freezers and labs for geological samples and temperature controlled labs.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: RRS Sir David Attenborough at Harwich pierRRS Sir David Attenborough at Harwich pier

It also has a tower facing upwards to make atmospheric measurements, capturing air samples before they are affected by the ship’s fumes.

The ship is currently operated by the British Antarctic Survey.

Prof Dame Jane Francis, director of the British Antarctic Survey, said: “It’s the marine environment, the oceans that are really critical to understanding climate change.

“That’s where the heat that we’re generating is going, down into the deep ocean, and that’s where a lot of the carbon we’re producing is buried.

“The capabilities this new ship has takes us way beyond what we had before.

“It’s like the best science institute you could ever imagine on land, except its on a ship.”

You can listen on the BBC Sounds app by searching for Costing the Earth.

The episode is entitled ‘All Aboard the Sir David Attenborough’.