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New icebreaker en route to Hobart

New icebreaker en route to Hobart

The vessel has set sail for its homeport after completing test and evaluation exercises.

The vessel has set sail for its homeport after completing test and evaluation exercises.

The Commonwealth government’s new icebreaker, RSV Nuyina, has departed dock yards in Vlissingen, Netherlands, after completing the final stages of testing in the North Sea.

The vessel, developed by Serco Group, is en route to its new homeport in Hobart, where its systems and capabilities will undergo an intensive period of testing, commissioning and certification, expected to include ice trials in Antarctica.


Serco Group CEO Rupert Soames approved the departure after touring the vessel.

Peter Welling, Serco Asia Pacific CEO, noted the significance of the icebreaker’s arrival in supporting Australia’s Antarctic program.

“Commencing the delivery voyage to Hobart is a momentous occasion and it has been an incredible journey to get to this point,” Welling said.

“We are thrilled to see Nuyina now under the operation of Serco’s crew, and we are looking forward to its arrival in Hobart next month, where we will operate and maintain the vessel for up to 30 years.”

Serco Defence managing director Clint Thomas, AM, CSC, lauded the efforts of the project team, which he said withstood disruptions associated with the ongoing pandemic.

“I am so impressed by our team’s dedication to this project, which never faltered, even in the face of challenges posed by COVID-19,” Thomas said.

“Serco are proud to have successfully project managed the overall ship design and build process for RSV Nuyina, drawing from our extensive experience designing, building, operating and maintaining Defence vessels for the past 30 years.”

Master of the ship, Captain Gerry O’Doherty, said he’s looking forward to docking the new vessel in its homeport.  

“It’s a monumental occasion to take delivery of a brand-new icebreaker that’s been custom designed and built for the Australian Antarctic Program,” he said.

“The people of Hobart will be blown away when they see the size of the ship. It’s just very imposing and very impressive.”

The icebreaker is designed to offer scientists unprecedented and extended access to the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. 

 RSV Nuyina, which replaces Aurora Australis, is tipped to deliver increased endurance.

The 160.3-metre-long, 25,500-tonne ship, is expected to be powerful enough to break 1.65 metres of ice at a continuous speed of three knots, while remaining quiet enough to allow researchers to use acoustic instruments.

The icebreaker is capable of resupplying two of Australia’s four Antarctic and sub-Antarctic stations in one voyage.

The vessel can accommodate 34 Serco crew and up to 116 AAD scientific personnel, and can embark up to four helicopters, two landing craft and a dedicated science tender. 

[Related: Serco recognises 10 years of supporting ADF operations in the Middle East]

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