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RSV Nuyina’s capabilities exceed all expectations

Published: 17 Oct 2021

Serco successfully delivered Australia’s new icebreaker to its home port of Hobart over the weekend and our crew are impressed by the ship’s superior design and engineering.  

Throughout the 24,000 km journey home to Tasmania, Serco’s crew put the new Australian Government ship RSV Nuyina through its paces, testing its capabilities on the long voyage that would see them travel halfway around the world.

Serco Master, Captain Gerry O’Doherty said the delivery voyage has confirmed what a truly powerful vessel RSV Nuyina is.

“The crew and I have been fortunate to push Nuyina’s capabilities over this long sea journey and it hasn’t ceased to amaze,” Captain O’Doherty said.

“We were excited to try manoeuvring the ship in its heavy icebreaking mode and also test the ship’s propulsion capabilities, and we were very impressed by the results.”

The combined power of two main V16 diesel engines and the Advanced Electric Drive in a hybrid diesel-electric propulsion system produce a total of 26,600 kilowatts, more than enough to break up to 1.65 metres of ice when travelling at 3 knots.

At 160.3 metres long and 26,000 tonnes, RSV Nuyina has a 1,200-tonne cargo capacity, enabling it to carry 96 20-foot shipping containers inside its holds.

Serco Defence Managing Director, Clint Thomas, AM, CSC said although designed primarily for scientific and supply operations in the Antarctic, Nuyina’s inherent capabilities allow it to flex with agility across all manner of marine operations.

“With its hangar and flight deck, accommodation and medical facilities, cargo and cranage capabilities, RSV Nuyina is a truly multi-dimension Australian Antarctic Program asset ready to assist wherever and whenever needed,” Mr Thomas said.  

“The vessel’s voluminous science capabilities will be as equally at home cruising the Pacific Ocean as they are in the Southern Ocean.”

RSV Nuyina can accommodate up to 149 personnel, including 32 Serco crew for voyages lasting up to 90 days.

Serco Australia project managed the overall ship design and building process and will operate and maintain the vessel for up to 30 years.

“Now that our crew have safely returned Nuyina to Hobart, we will commence the Harbour Phase where the ship will undertake an intensive period of testing, commissioning and certification of various systems and capabilities. We then look forward to Nuyina’s first voyage south,” Mr Thomas said.


Media contact: Tim Evans, +61 409 389 358

General media enquiries: Serco media line, +61 (0) 2 9409 8700 [email protected]

Image: Alastair Bett

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