Video: Giant Australian icebreaker heads to Vlissingen for sea trials

Damen has been working on the Australian Antarctic Supply Research Vessel (ASRV) since 2016. After the initial construction of the vessel at Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania, the ship is now undertaking final commissioning tests and being prepared for sea trials in Vlissingen, the Netherlands.

Damen is building the vessel called RSV Nuyina for Serco Group on behalf of the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). The floating laboratory icebreaker will carry out research in the Southern Oceans and around Antarctica. It will be one of the most advanced scientific research vessels in the world.

Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) has been managing this complex project from Vlissingen right from the start. The knowledge and skills that DSNS has gained in the construction of Dutch naval vessels are being applied. Hein van Ameijden, director of DSNS in Vlissingen: ‘The launching customer assignments for the Royal Netherlands Navy ensure that this type of complex assignment is placed with us all the way from Australia. We are enormously proud to be able to carry out this project.’

The ship is slightly smaller than HNLMS Karel Doorman, but comparable in terms of steel weight. The icebreaker is intended for the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). This government agency aims to promote Australia’s scientific, strategic and ecological interests in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. To this end, the ship will accommodate 116 scientists, plus 32 crew members. In addition to scientific research, the vessel will also be used to supply the permanent research stations in Antarctica and Macquarie Island. Should the ship get stuck in the ice, supplies will be on board to ensure survival for six months.

Sea trials

RSV Nuyina has been towed from Galati to Vlissingen, where it will be prepared for sea trails. It is expected that the ship will sail along Vlissingen Boulevard late Friday night/early Saturday morning on its way to Damen’s yard. The ship will be delivered in 2021, after which it will operate from her homeport of Hobart in Tasmania, where AAD headquarters is located.

Watch a video of the ship being towed to Vlissingen below.

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Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.