New Antarctic Icebreaker Docks in Hobart | Review of northern beaches


After several delays and a 24,000 km ocean voyage, Australia’s new $ 529 million Antarctic icebreaker docked at its Hobart home.

Plans to host RSV Nuyina with a Derwent River flotilla and a waterfront party on Saturday morning were scuttled by a three-day snap lockdown in southern Tasmania.

The 160m-long ship can carry 117 expeditionaries and is a significant improvement in the resupply efforts of the country’s science and research stations.

“The Nuyina is a Swiss army knife of ships,” said Kim Ellis, director of the Australian Antarctic Division.

“In addition to all its logistical capabilities, it represents one of the most advanced scientific platforms on the ocean.

“The ship is going to be the most important part of our Antarctic program. It represents Australia’s presence in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica.”

The ship, named after an indigenous word for the southern lights, contains a unique 13m “moon pool” for deploying robotic devices through the hull.

In addition to the integrated laboratories, it can be equipped with modular laboratories in shipping containers.

It left the Netherlands in early September and will undergo further tests, including tests on ice, Antarctica and equipment.

“The ship will begin operations later in December with its first commissioning trips to the south,” Mr. Ellis said.

“It will undertake trials and tests and at the same time undertake freight and fuel delivery work.

“He will return to Hobart, then another trip to Mawson (research station) and Macquarie (island).”

Nuyina had to be towed from Romania, where it was built, to southern Holland for sea trials after specialists’ travel was hampered by COVID-19 restrictions.

It was originally scheduled to arrive in Tasmania in 2020 and had suffered construction delays before COVID-19.

Four coins, including an Australian 50-cent coin, were welded into the ship’s hull, in keeping with maritime tradition, at the start of construction in 2017.

It replaces the previous icebreaker, Aurora Australis, who retired in March 2020 after 30 years.

A temporary supply vessel chartered last summer caught fire in the Southern Ocean and was forced to limp towards Western Australia with returning expeditionaries on board.

Associated Australian Press

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