New Antarctic icebreaker RSV Nuyina docks in Hobart


It wasn’t quite the celebratory fanfare planned, but Australia’s new icebreaker RSV Nuyina has finally arrived in Hobart.

The state-of-the-art ship has quietly crept into Hobart after the celebrations to welcome it were put on ice due to an instant COVID-19 lockdown.

The $ 528 million ship took 10 years to design and build and is larger, faster and able to stay at sea longer than its predecessor, the Aurora Australis.

He briefly stopped in the middle of the Derwent and showed his 360 degree spinning abilities, spinning several times and detonating his horn.

While residents overlooking the River Derwent could watch it arrive, people were no longer allowed to greet the ship on the river or on the docks.

The Nuyina was escorted down the River Derwent by tugs, but without a flotilla of sympathizers, which had to be canceled due to a lockdown.(Provided: Caroline Tan)
The red-hulled Nuyina beside the wharf in Hobart.
The trip to Hobart was “very comfortable,” said Mark Horstman of the AAD.(ABC News: Andrew Cunningham)
People wearing masks stand around and look out to sea.
People had to dress up and use their exercise time to witness the arrival of the new RSV Nuyina icebreaker.(ABC News: Andrew Cunningham)

La Nuyina began its 24,000 kilometer journey from the Netherlands to Australia six weeks ago.

Australia’s Antarctic Division Chief Scientist Nicole Webster said the ship has exciting capabilities for scientists.

“We described it as Disneyland for scientists,” she told ABC Radio Hobart.

“It’s absolutely bristling with sensors that are really going to act like eyes and ears and they can collect mountains of data in real time, so things like echo sounders that help us locate fish populations and krill swarms.


“It has hydrophones that can listen to marine mammals and whales and seals, it has underwater cameras that allow us to see areas of the Southern Ocean that we have never been able to see before.”

She said the ship will collect oceanographic and atmospheric data.

“It allows us to do things like artificial intelligence, we can track individual whales, and then use some of these data streams to predict where those whale populations might be, so it’s really going to transform our future science capabilities.” , said Professor Webster.

Anti-roll ballast helps prevent ‘hanging’

People jump into a water well on a ship
Scientists aboard the Nuyina dove into the ship’s “lunar pool” as they crossed the equator on their trip to Australia.(Provided: AAD / Pete Harmsen)

AAD’s Mark Horstman was on board for the delivery trip and said the trip was “very comfortable”.

“I think we’ve been on board for almost 50 days,” said Horstman.

“We were all amazed at how well the ship behaved and blamed it on the anti-roll ballast water system… the sea was heaving but the people on board were not heaving . “

He was also enthusiastic about scientific abilities.

“I was quite thrilled to see the lunar pool, the fact that a ship can have a door right into the ocean, so even if you’re surrounded by sea ice you can drop all kinds of gear,” he said. Mr. Horstman said.

“We have to jump in to celebrate crossing the equator.”

Ship at sea in the light of dawn, with an illuminated helicopter runway on the deck
The icebreaker traveled 24,000 kilometers to its new home base in Hobart.(Provided: Pete Harmsen)

The ship’s name, pronounced noy-yee-nah, means southern aurora in palawa kani, the language of the aborigines of Tasmania.

The name was suggested by students after a national competition in 2017 and has received formal approval from the indigenous community of Tasmania.

The Nuyina will undertake two years of testing, including tests on ice in Antarctica.

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said it would be much more than a supply ship for Australian Antarctic bases.

“She has some pretty amazing labs and capabilities, so don’t just think of this ship as carrying our expeditionaries south and bringing the material back and forth, it’s a floating lab, 20 labs actually,” he said. she declared.

Expeditionaries wield flares with a ship in the background.
Expeditionaries wield flares to bid farewell to the Aurora Australis as it left Mawson Research Station 18 months ago.(DAA: Matt Williams)

Ms Ley said it was disappointing that the ship’s arrival coincided with a coronavirus lockdown in southern Tasmania.

“It’s so disappointing for the people of Hobart… she would have had a wonderful welcome – one of many because some of us can’t get into Tasmania for a while,” she said. .

“She will be ridden, prepped, provisioned and all of that over the next few weeks, so there will be plenty of opportunities to see her in action.”

The ship replaces the Aurora Australis which has been Australia’s supply ship for over 30 years.

It was a regular feature on Hobart’s waterfront and was affectionately known as the Orange Roughy.

Water test for the new Nuyina icebreaker
The Nuyina was built in a Romanian shipyard.(News video)

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