Aurora Australis icebreaker Review and Specifications
Specifications of Aurora Australis icebreaker
|Year built||1990 / Age : 29|
|Builder||Carrington Slipways (New South Wales, Australia)|
|Class||Australian diesel icebreaker|
|Owner||P&O Maritime Services|
|Operator||DMS Maritime (Defence Maritime Services) Australia|
|Speed||16 kn / 30 kph / 18 mph|
|Length (LOA)||95 m / 312 ft|
|Beam (width)||20 m / 66 ft|
|Gross Tonnage||6574 gt|
Review of Aurora Australis icebreaker
RSV Aurora Australis is an icebreaking vessel owned by P&O Maritime Services and operated by P&O Polar. Since 2006, the shipowner P&O Maritime company is owned by DP World (Dubai-based maritime company, ports and marine terminals owner). Another profitable DP World brand is P&O Ferries (British passenger shipping line). In 2020, Aurora Australis will be replaced by the newbuild icebreaker RSV Nuyina.
History and ownership
One of the Australian Antarctic icebreaker cruise ships, Aurora Australis is a multi-purpose resupply and research vessel designed for polar operations.
- In 1998, the icebreaker became stranded in ice. An attempt for towing into clear water was done by the Japanese icebreaker Shirase. However, the ship's engineering crew managed to temporarily repair the vessel and it made it under own power.
- In May 2011, the icebreaker was chartered for 2 months by the Australian Government (Department of Defence) and used to support the Royal Australian Navy. The charter cost AUD 3,375 million.
- In December 2013, the icebreaker ships Xue Long (China), L'Astrolabe (France) and Aurora Australis attempted to rescue the ice-strengthened research vessel Akademik Shokalskiy. The Russian ship got stranded in Antarctica trapped by old glacial ice. The three icebreakers failed to reach the ship and turned back. A decision was made for abandoning the ship and evacuation of the crew. The Shokalskiy's crew flattened a helipad on the ice around the ship and prepared for evacuation. The ferry to safety was performed on January 2, 2014, via helicopters dispatched from Xue Long. In the meantime, the Chinese ship became itself trapped in Commonwealth Bay (~1700 ml / 2740 km south of Tasmania). The ship rescue operation was done later by USCGC Polar Star (US coastguard heavy icebreaker).
- On February 24, 2016, due to a blizzard storm, the icebreaker with 67 crew (no cruise passengers) broke from its moorings and run aground. The accident occurred during re-supply operations in Horseshoe Harbour (Antarctica).
P&O Aurora Australis itinerary program offers Antarctic cruise expeditions. The icebreaker is often chartered by the AAD (Australian Antarctic Division) to support Australian bases and stations, and for research operations.
Aurora Australis icebreaker vessel details
The vessel is fitted with laboratories for meteorological, oceanographic and biological research. It also features an aft trawl deck for deployment and recovery of research instruments at sea. The hangar and helideck (helipad) allow operations with up to four helicopters.
- The vessel has 1 dining room, Sauna, no swimming pool, no elevators, 1 helipad.
- Max Draught: 8 m (26 ft)
- Displacement tonnage: 8158 tons
- Deadweight: 6574
- Icebreaking capacity: 1 m (3 ft)
- Cargo capacity: 29 TEUs (containers), 1700 m3 bulk cargo, 1000 m3 supply fuel, 4 helicopters
- Power: Wartsila 16V32D diesel engine (5,5 MW power output), Wartsila 12V32D (4,5 MW output)
- Propulsion: 1 controllable-pitch propeller with a nozzle; 3 thrusters (1 bow, 2 at the stern)
Note: In the case of poor AIS coverage, tracking the vessel's current location will be impossible. You can see the CruiseMapper's list of all icebreakers and ice-breaking research ships in the "itinerary" section of our Icebreakers hub. All states and their fleets are listed there.