Dutch shipbuilder Damen has selected Tasmanian firm Taylor Bros to build two Antarctic landing barges for Australia’s new icebreaker, the RSV Nuyina.
Damen is constructing RSV Nuyina – a Tasmanian Aboriginal (palawa kani) word for the southern aurora – at its yard in Galati, Romania, with the vessel laid down in August this year.
It is expected she will arrive at her home port in Hobart in 2020, and make her first voyage to Antarctica for the 2020-21 summer season.
This 156-metre 24,000-tonne ship will replace the ageing icebreaker Aurora Australis, which was constructed in Newcastle and launched in 1989.
This decision to build a new Australian ship in Europe rather than Australia attracted substantial criticism.
Hobart-based Taylor Bros is Tasmania’s largest defence-related firm, constructing accommodation and galley modules for the three Hobart Class air warfare destroyers. It also does engineering and fitout work for the civil marine and offshore resources sectors.
Damen is one of three firms under consideration for construction of 12 Offshore Patrol Vessels to replace the Navy’s Armidale Class patrol boats.
The two new 16-metre barges are being designed, engineered and constructed in Tasmania. They will be able to carry 45.5-tonne trucks from ship to shore, giving RSV Nuyina an unprecedented capability for unloading and reloading.
Construction will be complete in 2020 when the RSV Nuyina begins operations.
The deal signing ceremony was attended by the Tasmanian Minister for State Growth Peter Gutwein and Damen Australia project director Magiel Venema.
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“This contract with Taylor Bros demonstrates Damen’s strong conviction in the maxim ‘think global, act local’,” said Roland Briene, Damen area director for Asia-Pacific.
“Wherever we operate in the world we work closely with local suppliers and service providers, participating in knowledge sharing initiatives that work in the interests of all parties.
“Taylor Bros was a natural choice for this contract, having delivered a number of projects to the Australian Antarctic Division previously.
“Tasmania in general has an excellent reputation for being one of the most effective manufacturing, supply and support bases for Antarctic research.”