Icebreaker’s science tender sea trials underway — Australian Antarctic Division

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The Nuyina's science tender undergoing sea trials in Norway.
The Nuyina’s science tender undergoing sea trials in Norway.


Final sea trials for the science tender of Australia’s new icebreaker, RSV Nuyina, are underway in Norway this week.

Australian Antarctic Division Icebreaker Project Manager, Nick Browne, said the 10.3 metre-long vessel was uniquely designed to support scientific research in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica.

“The science tender will enable scientists to undertake marine and geoscience work in open water and ice, independently or in parallel with the Nuyina’s scientific systems,” he said.

“The vessel is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment, including a multibeam bathymetric echo sounder to map the sea floor, a sound velocity profiler for oceanographic work, and moon pool for the deployment of 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 will be able to 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 Nuyina is also fitted with two further tenders that will be used to transfer personnel and supplies, supporting 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.

Read more about the icebreaker’s tenders and barges in More than a ship

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