Australia’s newly completed icebreaker, RSV Nuyina, has left the Port of Vlissingen, Netherlands to commence trials in the North Sea.
Dutch shipbuilder Damen is building the vessel for Serco Group on behalf of the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) under the Australian Antarctic Supply Research Vessel (ASRV) program.
The departure marks the start of a month-long Sea Trials Phase and an important milestone for all involved in the icebreaker project across the AAD, Serco and Damen. Sea trials will be followed by additional weeks of deepwater trials. Testing of the ship’s speed, noise, propulsion systems, steering, advanced electrical systems, and science equipment will take place as the vessel prepares for final sea ice trials in the Arctic early next year.
The icebreaker arrived at Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding’s shipyard in Vlissingen for the final stages of its testing and commissioning earlier this year. The icebreaker was towed from Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania, where the initial construction took place, to Vlissingen with the month long journey covering around 6,800 kilometres. 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.
One of the most advanced vessels of its kind in the world, RSV Nuyina will form the centrepiece of the Australian Government’s Antarctic Strategy and 20 Year Action Plan.
RSV Nuyina will provide a world-class scientific platform for Antarctic researchers, carrying cutting-edge equipment to study the depths of the Southern Ocean, sea ice and the upper atmosphere. With capacity to carry 117 expeditioners, 1200 tonnes of cargo and 1.9 million litres of fuel, the icebreaker will be the main lifeline to Australia’s Antarctic and sub-Antarctic research stations for decades to come.
Nuyina (meaning ‘southern lights’ in palawa kani, the language of Tasmanian Aborigines, pronounced noy-yee-nah) is expected to arrive in its home port of Hobart in mid-2021 to commence Antarctic operations in next year’s summer season.