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Construction of Australia's new icebreaker commences

Published: 1 Jun 2017

The development of Australia’s new ASRV Icebreaker has reached a significant milestone with the initial steel cutting starting in Galati, Romania on 31 May. The Icebreaker is a $1.91 billion investment by the Australian Government. Serco Australia is project managing the overall ship design and building process, and will then operate and maintain the icebreaker from its home port of Hobart.

Serco Chief Executive Officer Mark Irwin said the past few months had meant significant work by Serco and shipbuilder Damen, with our client, the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD).

“This milestone is a major step in preparation for vessel delivery in 2020 and I am very pleased that the hard work of our team is coming to fruition for this exciting and important project,” Mr Irwin said.

“We are thrilled that the design is coming to life. The state-of-the-art icebreaker will be uniquely tailored to meet Australia’s needs. It will be faster, larger and stronger than the Australian Antarctic programme’s current icebreaker, Aurora Australis, and will offer increased endurance and icebreaking capability. The new ship provides a modern platform for marine science research in both sea ice and open water and a moon pool for launching and retrieving remotely operated underwater vehicles.”

The build process takes the cut steel profiles and starts to form them into the various shapes required in order that the initial blocks can be welded together ready for the next major milestone of keel laying scheduled for 24 August 2017.  The process continues until all of the blocks have been manufactured and one by one lifted and welded into place as the ASRV takes shape. 

Mr Irwin said that by starting to cut steel on the ASRV project Serco has again been able to provide the skills and support required to enable the continued development of this exciting and unique vessel delivery project, and will continue to work closely with our customer, the AAD, and our design and build partner, Damen, to progress to final delivery in 2020.

“Congratulations to the project team for meeting this significant milestone and as we now start to turn our attentions to the build stage we should look forward to further successes in the very near future.”

Visit the Australian Antarctic Division website for more information, or view the video interview with Rob Bryson, Modernisation Program Manager.

Photo: Damen/Australian Antarctic Division