Australia’s New Icebreaker RSV Nuyina Arrives in Vlissingen for Final Stages of Testing

Australia’s new icebreaker RSV Nuyina has arrived at Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding’s shipyard in Vlissingen, the Netherlands for the final stages of its testing and commissioning.

The icebreaker was towed from Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania to Vlissingen with the month long journey covering around 6,800 kilometres. A single 50 metre tug boat towed the vessel on the ocean passages, and up to three tugs were used through some of the narrower canals. During the journey, the vessel crossed the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar.

The icebreaker was towed as it doesn’t have the required regulatory certificates to conduct international voyages under its own power, because it hasn’t undergone sea trials.

The ship is now undertaking final commissioning tests and being prepared for sea trials in Vlissingen. She is expected to arrive in Hobart, Australia in the middle of next year following the completion of the trials.

Damen has been working on the Australian Antarctic Supply Research Vessel (ASRV) since 2016. A floating laboratory icebreaker that will carry out research in the Southern Oceans and around Antarctica. After the initial construction of the vessel was conducted at Damen Shipyards Galati. Damen is building the vessel for Serco Group on behalf of the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD).

RSV Nuyina will be one of the most advanced scientific research vessels in the world. Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) has been managing this complex project from Vlissingen right from the start. The knowledge and skills that DSNS has gained in the construction of Dutch naval vessels are being applied.

Hein van Ameijden, director of DSNS in Vlissingen: “The launching customer assignments for the Royal Netherlands Navy ensure that this type of complex assignment is placed with us all the way from Australia. We are enormously proud to be able to carry out this project.”

The ship is slightly smaller than HNLMS Karel Doorman, but comparable in terms of steel weight. The icebreaker is intended for the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). This government agency aims to promote Australia’s scientific, strategic and ecological interests in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. To this end, the ship will accommodate 116 scientists, plus 32 crew members. In addition to scientific research, the vessel will also be used to supply the permanent research stations in Antarctica and Macquarie Island. Should the ship get stuck in the ice, supplies will be on board to ensure survival for six months.

RSV Nuyina will be delivered in 2021, after which she will operate from her homeport of Hobart in Tasmania, where AAD headquarters is located.

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