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Captains of Australia’s new Antarctica icebreaker announced

Published: 19 Aug 2019

Serco Australia is delighted to announce the appointment of Captain Scott Laughlin and Captain Paul Clarke who will lead the alternating crews operating Australia’s new icebreaker, the RSV Nuyina.

Joining the Hobart-based Serco team, both Captains come to the role with experienced track records working in the Southern Ocean. 

Scott has completed more than 50 voyages to Antarctica. As Captain of Australia’s current icebreaker, RSV Aurora Australis, for over 10 years, Scott is familiar with the cold and challenging conditions of the Southern Ocean. Paul also has extensive experience in the Antarctic, having spent 11 years working for the British Antarctic Survey, and undertaking more than 20 voyages to Antarctica. 

Scott has worked with Serco for the past five years; initially as part of the team who compiled the successful bid to design, build, operate and maintain the Nuyina, and then more recently as a member of the Engineering team managing the design and build phase. 

Scott’s focus on safe vessel management and operation has gained him industry recognition. In 2014, he was awarded the Peter Morris Medal by the Australian Maritime College for improving international maritime safety and personnel standards. In 2013, he received the Australian Antarctic Medal for outstanding service to the Australian Antarctic Program; and in 2006, he gained a Seacare Award for Best Individual Contribution to Safety.

Scott is pleased to be continuing his work in the icy southern waters. “The Southern Ocean is a captivating place to work,” he said. “There is nothing more satisfying than successfully transiting through the roaring '40s, howling '50s and screaming '60s, sighting the sea ice edge before crossing hundreds of miles through the ice to conduct science operations or to resupply one of the Australian Antarctic stations.” 

A local Tasmanian, Scott has lived and worked in Hobart his whole life and is an alumnus from the University of Tasmania’s Australian Maritime College. 

Born and raised in the Falkland Islands, Paul began working for the British Antarctic Survey as a deck hand in 1994 and has always aspired to become the Master of an Antarctic research vessel. 

Most recently, Paul spent the last decade sailing as a Master for shipping company Solstad/Farstad in the oil and gas industry around Australia and many other parts of the world. He brings with him valuable experience sailing in the ice and knowledge from the British Antarctic Survey that will complement and enhance the operation of the Nuyina.

Paul is looking forward to returning to the Southern Ocean. “This is an amazing opportunity with Serco and the Australian Antarctic Program to deliver world-class support for their polar and science operations,” he said. “I very much enjoy the type of ice navigation challenges, research and survey work that will be undertaken on the Nuyina.”


Media contact: Tim Evans, +61 409 389 358
General media enquiries: Serco media line, +61 (0) 2 9409 8700 or [email protected]