Keel Laying of Australia’s new icebreaker

Published: 25 Aug 2017

Image: Serco Asia Pacific CEO Mark Irwin and Dr Nick Gales, Director Australian Antarctic Division. 

Australia’s new ASRV Icebreaker reached the next significant milestone in its development, with the first section of keel laid in a ceremony in Galati, Romania on 25 August.

The Icebreaker is a $1.91 billion investment by the Australian Government. Serco Australia is project managing the overall ship design and building process for the Department of Environment and Energy, and will then operate and maintain the icebreaker from its home port of Hobart when it is delivered in 2020.

The Keel Laying Ceremony is a maritime tradition marking the start of the shipbuilding process. As part of the ceremony four coins were placed under the keel. This tradition is said to bring luck to the ship during construction and to the captain and crew during her operational life.

The coins represent the four countries involved in designing and building this Icebreaker – Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands and Romania. The organisation that developed the initial concept design for Australia’s new Icebreaker is from Denmark. Serco’s key subcontractor Damen Naval Shipbuilding is from the Netherlands, and the shipyard where the Icebreaker is being constructed is in Galati, Romania.

Serco Australia CEO Mark Irwin, who attended the ceremony, said the keel laying marked the end of the functional design of the vessel.

“This now allows our Serco engineers to confirm that the ‘paper design’ will meet with the needs of the Serco crew and the AAD’s expectations,” Mr Irwin said.

“It is an exciting step towards bringing the vision of the Australian Antarctic Division to life which will expand and strengthen Australia’s position of science leadership in Antarctica.

“As construction progresses here at Damen Shipyards Galati, the volume and pace of activities will grow and intensify. We at Serco look forward to this vessel’s acceptance into service and its arrival in Australia in mid 2020.”


Media contact: Tim Evans, +61 409 389 358

General media enquiries: Serco media line, +61 (0) 2 9409 8700 or media@serco-ap.com  

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