Science support vessel for Australia’s new icebreaker put through its paces in Norway

Published: 18 Nov 2019

Final testing of the Australian Antarctic Program’s science tender is underway in Norway this week. Uniquely designed to support scientific research in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica, the 10.32-metre-long vessel will enable scientists on the RSV Nuyina to undertake marine and geoscience work in open water and ice.
 
The vessel is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment, including a dual-head multibeam bathymetric echo sounder, sound velocity profiler and moon pool for the deployment of acoustic instruments through the hull. It also has an A-frame on the stern to deploy towed scientific equipment and small trawls, and a side davit rated to deploy scientific instruments in rough seas. 
 
The science tender is designed to withstand the harsh conditions in Antarctica.  It can operate in temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius and is fitted with two five-cylinder diesel engines and Duoprop drives for exceptional handling and acceleration power.

The vessel can accommodate four scientists and two crew and has a range of 150 nautical miles at 12 knots, with a maximum speed of 20 knots in sea state 3.   
 
Testing is being conducted in the fiords around Alesund, Norway and will continue over the next three weeks. The test area provides sheltered water with a range of shallow and deep regions required to demonstrate the full capabilities of the acoustic instruments being tested.
 
The milestone represents another step forward in the commissioning of Australia’s new icebreaker. Last month, the landing barges, made by local Tasmanian business Taylor Bros, were successfully tested on the Derwent River in Hobart. The internal fit-out of the Nuyina is also taking shape, with the mess and galley, cabins, gym, conference room, lounge, library, laundries and science facilities almost complete.
 
Serco ARSV Icebreaker Project Director David Astbury said the tender will play an important role in the Antarctic.
 
“This small vessel will provide essential support to the Nuyina’s scientific research activities,” he said.
 
“Together with the advanced scientific equipment onboard the Nuyina, it provides new research capability for scientists working in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica.
 
“Additionally, the Nuyina is fitted with two further tenders that will be used to transfer personnel and supplies. They provide increased capability compared to the Aurora Australis and will support the important resupply activities of the new ship.”
 
Sea trials for the RSV Nuyina will commence in February. The icebreaker is expected to arrive in Hobart next year, ahead of the 2020-21 Antarctic season.

ENDS

Media contact: Tim Evans, +61 409 389 358
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