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Australia’s new icebreaker begins sea trials

RSV Nuyina
Photo: Damen

Australia’s future Antarctic icebreaking research and supply vessel (RSV) Nuyina has started sea trials in the North Sea.

Dutch shipbuilder Damen built the vessel at its shipyard in Romania, before transferring it to the Netherlands in August this for systems kit out.

Sea trials will be followed by additional weeks of deepwater trials. Testing of the ship’s speed, noise, propulsion systems, steering, advanced electrical systems, and science equipment will take place as the vessel prepares for final sea ice trials in the Arctic early next year.

One of the most advanced vessels of its kind, RSV Nuyina will provide a scientific platform for Antarctic researchers, carrying equipment to study the depths of the Southern Ocean, sea ice and the upper atmosphere. The vessel is expected to arrive in its home port of Hobart in mid-2021 to start Antarctic operations in next year’s Southern Hemisphere summer season.

Damen has been working on the icebreaker since 2016. Construction of the ship at Damen Shipyards in Romania began in May 2017, with a steel cutting ceremony, while a keel laying ceremony in August saw the first building-block of the ship consolidated in the drydock.

The 160-meter icebreaker will be able to handle waves up to sea state 9 and break ice at a continuous 3 knots in ice of 1.65 meter thickness. The vessel will support voyages for up to 90 days, which includes the ability to remain within the Antarctic area for up to 80 days.

Photo: Damen