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Serco Australia selected for state-of-the-art icebreaker vessel

Published: 29 Oct 2015

Serco Group plc (Serco), the international service company, announces that its wholly-owned subsidiary DMS Maritime Pty Ltd (DMS Maritime), has been selected as preferred tenderer for the Design, Build, Operation and Maintenance (DBOM) of a new research and supply icebreaker vessel for the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) of the Department of the Environment.  Formal contract negotiations have recently commenced and are expected to conclude in early 2016.

Computer–generated images and video (below) of the new ship were showcased for the first time today at an event attended by the Australian Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, at the AAD’s headquarters in Kingston, Tasmania.  

The icebreaker will be a state-of-the-art ship that will offer scientists unprecedented and extended access to the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. The investment by the Australian Government will form the centrepiece of Australia’s Antarctic presence and influence the shape of Australia’s Antarctic programme for decades to come.

Under the anticipated contract, the icebreaker vessel will be designed and built by DMS Maritime’s subcontractor Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (Damen) in Romania, with commissioning expected in October 2019.  DMS Maritime would then operate and maintain the vessel in support of the Australian Antarctic programme on a long-term basis.

Replacing the Aurora Australis, the new icebreaker will be faster, larger, stronger and offer increased endurance.  The vessel will supply Antarctic research stations with cargo, equipment and personnel, and as a research ship, it will also have extensive laboratory facilities on board.  The vessel is expected to accommodate 34 DMS Maritime crew and up to 116 AAD scientific personnel, and has the ability to embark up to four helicopters, two landing craft and a dedicated science tender.  Its physical specification is expected to be 156 metres in length and 23,400 tonnes displacement.

AAD advances Australia’s strategic, scientific, environmental and economic interests in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.  It leads and delivers a world class scientific program, focused on sound environmental stewardship, climate research, and the study of terrestrial and marine ecosystems.  The icebreaker will serve Australia’s three permanent research stations within its Antarctic territory, as well as its research station on Macquarie Island.

DMS Maritime is one of Australia’s largest marine service operators, with facilities in major naval ports around the country and a support network that extends a wide range of engineering and technical services across Asia Pacific.  These include integrated management of through-life support covering vessel design, build, modification, engineering and maintenance; marine systems support; port services; maritime training; and specialist services such as under-sea exploration and recovery.  DMS Maritime manage, operate and maintain over 600 vessels, serving commercial, defence and government agency customers.

Damen is a leading international shipyard group, with more than 6,000 employees and a presence in 34 countries.  Damen produces a broad range of bespoke vessels including scientific, hydrographic, naval and ice ships, and since 1969 has delivered over 5,000 vessels.

Mark Irwin, Serco Asia Pacific Chief Executive Officer, said “We are delighted that Serco will be playing a vital role in supporting Australian and global Antarctic scientific programmes through the provision of experienced ice-qualified crews, maintenance engineers and our extensive services in vessel management.  These operations will significantly expand Serco’s existing presence in Tasmania, and will further strengthen our substantial expertise in project management and end-to-end vessel support to the marine industry.”

Serco will provide further details of any binding contract entered into at the time of finalising and signature.