RSV Nuyina icebreaker

RSV Nuyina icebreaker cruise ship
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Cruise line
Australia (Icebreakers)

RSV Nuyina icebreaker Review and Specifications

Specifications of RSV Nuyina icebreaker

Year built2020 new ship
BuilderDamen Shipyards (Galati, Romania)
OwnerAustralian Antarctic Division
OperatorDMS Maritime (Defence Maritime Services) Australia
Speed16 kn / 30 kph / 18 mph
Length (LOA)160 m / 525 ft
Beam (width)26 m / 85 ft
Gross Tonnage24000 gt
Passengers117
Crew32
Decks10

Review of RSV Nuyina icebreaker

Nuyina is the new Australian icebreaker classed as RSV (research and supply vessel). The vessel supports Australia's Antarctic bases by deploying various cargo vehicles (landing barges, amphibious trucks, helicopters). It also has a large scientific moon pool (in-hull platform) that serves marine research in both water and sea ice. From the platform are launched and retrieved ROVs (remotely operated vehicles) and various sampling equipment.

History and ownership

Ship's design was developed by Knud E Hansen (Danish naval architects / marine engineering company), with its construction managed by Damen Group (Holland). The icebreaking vessel was built at Damen Shipyards in Galati (Romania).

RSV Nuyina icebreaker (Australian Antarctic ship)

On April 28, 2016, was signed the shipbuilding contract between DMS Maritime (Defence Maritime Services, Australia - via Serco Defence / DMS subsidiary) and Damen Group. The deal included vessel design, delivery and maintenance. Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (Holland) provided engineering and project management. Damen Shipyards Galati carried the construction and outfitting works. Alewijnse Marine (Romania) was contracted to provide engineering, delivery and installation of ship's electrical systems (main engines control, propulsion-thruster control, integrated management).

RSV Nuyina icebreaker (Australian Antarctic ship)

Until 2019, AAD uses the icebreaker Aurora Australis as ASRV (Antarctic Supply Research Vessel). Since 1989, the ship is chartered from P&O Polar (since 2006 owned by DP World Dubai). Australian government's plan to purchase a new icebreaking ship was announced in October 2015.

The shipowner AAD (Australian Antarctic Division) is a division of Australia's "Department of the Environment and Energy" (environment protection, biodiversity conservation, energy policy). AAD undertakes science research programs and projects in Antarctica and Southern Ocean, also conducts and supports collaborative researches with other organisations and administers and maintains Australia's Antarctic and sub-Antarctic territories.

  • AAD uses air transportation - between Australia and Antarctica and within Antarctica. Aircraft and services (via contracts with private companies) are provided annually - between November and February. An Airbus A319 (owned by Skytraders) operates to and from Antarctica (Wilkins Runway aerodrome in Wilkes Land - approx 65 km / 40 ml from Casey Station).
  • Within Antarctica, services for AAD are provided by two fixed-wing planes (CASA 212-400) and three helicopters (single-engine Airbus H125). Fixed-wing planes (chartered from Skytraders) are equipped with skis and operate between Wilkins aerodrome and the runways at the permanent bases. Helicopters are chartered from Helicopter Resources Pty Ltd (also serving mainland Australia and Tasmania).

DMS Maritime (Australia) is a state-owned company founded in 1997. It provides port and vessel management services to country's Defence Force, Border Force and Navy. DMS operates 8 ocean ships and over 100 harbour vessels.

The new icebreaker supplies with cargo, equipment and personnel Australia's four permanent bases - three stations in Antarctica (Mawson, Davis, Casey) and one on Macquarie Island (Tasmania). Additionally, the ship serves as research laboratory with passenger capacity up to 116 scientific staff.

Nuyina icebreaker vessel details

The vessel is fitted with containerised laboratories for meteorological, oceanographic and biological research. It also has an aft trawl deck for deployment and recovery of research instruments at sea. The hangar and helideck (2 helipads - forward and aft) allow operations with up to four helicopters.

RSV Nuyina icebreaker ship infographic

The icebreaker features latest technology equipment for ocean and polar surveys (acoustic, seismic, subsea), including ADCP (acoustic Doppler current profiler), echo sounder, biological and omnidirectional sonars, seabed mapping, monitoring systems, meteo weather station, cargo handling facilities, airborne robots, measuring instruments (atmospheric gases, cloud properties, ice and sea conditions). ROVs and AUVs (remotely operated and autonomous underwater vehicles / robotic submarines), 4 tender boats (3 crew, 1 science) and 4 motorized lifeboats (full-capacity).

  • The vessel has 1 Mess hall (lounge-dining room), Science Winch Room, Wet Well, Moon Pool, medical facility, 2 helipads.
  • Max Draught: 9,3 m (31 ft)
  • Displacement tonnage: 25500 tons
  • Deadweight: tba
  • Icebreaking capacity: 1,7 m (5 ft)
  • Ice class PC3 - the ship has ice-strengthened hull allowing operations in pack ice and temperatures down to -35 C (-31 F).
  • Endurance - 90 days
  • Max speed 30 kph (18 mph), Cruising speed 22 kph (14 mph), Ice speed 5,6 kph (3,5 mph in pack ice with thickness up to 1,65 m / 5 ft)
  • Cargo capacity: 96 TEUs (containers) below decks, plus 60 TEUs above deck (cargo and containerised labs)
  • Fuel capacity - 1900 m3 (supply fuel)
  • Heavy lifting capacity - 1200 tons of cargo, 4 large cranes (two 55-ton / bow, one 15 ton / portside; one 15-ton / aft) plus smaller cranes on work deck
  • Hangar capacity - up to 4 helicopters (Eurocopter AS350) or two Sikorsky S92s
  • Power plant: two marine diesel engines (total power output 19,2 MW) used for icebreaking, plus two diesel-electric motors (combined power 7,4 MV, powered by gensets)
  • Propulsion: combined power 26,6 MW, 2 drive shaft with CPPs (controllable pitch propellers with nozzles) plus 6 thrusters for manoeuvring (3x bow, 3x stern)
  • Ship's laboratory and office facilities (total size 500 m2) are served by 116 AAD personnel accommodated in climate-controlled staterooms. The Infirmary is served by a resident doctor.
  • The fore-located retractable boom serves instruments measuring snow and ice thickness.
  • (hull) The fore-located multi-beam echosounder is used for seafloor mapping (max width 25 km, max depth 11 km).
  • (hull) Two drop keels (retractable fin keels preventing drifting) are equipped with acoustic instruments for mapping the seafloor and visualising the organisms in the water column.
  • The midship located scientific moon pool (aka "wet porch") is a floor opening in the hull that gives direct access to the water / ice below. It allows the crew to deploy underwater instruments, including ROVs and AUVs (remotely operated and autonomous underwater vehicles / robotic submarines).
  • Nuyina is world's only ship with a watertight room (aka "wet well") processing seawater for marine organisms. System's max capacity is 1800 litres per minute.

The ship has two high-powered landing barges - designed, engineered and built by Taylor Bros Pty Ltd (Tasmanian marine engineering company). Each barge has cargo capacity 45,5 tons and carries trucks from the ship to the shore for unloading and reloading supplies.

The following ship deckplan shows the location of staterooms and all main facilities and equipment.

RSV Nuyina icebreaker ship deck plan

Note: In 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.

RSV Nuyina icebreaker wiki

  • Vessel's steel-cutting ceremony was in May 2017. With the keel-laying ceremony (August 2017) started the construction. During the ceremony, four coins (Dannish, Dutch, Romanian, Australian) were welded to the keel (hull-bottom).
  • In March 2018, nearly 70% of all the 10,000 tons of steel were cut and the keel was completed.
  • In May 2018 was delivered ship's propulsion system (thrusters, propellers and hubs) as well as the anchors and ice knives.
  • On September 25, 2018, the hull was floated out of drydock. The procedure took 2 days and was achieved by raising drydock's water level by 6 m (20 ft). Then the ship was manoeuvred 250 m to shipyard's outfitting quayside berth. The construction process was based on positioning of 57 pre-fabricated blocks (hull and superstructure modules) combining 229 steel sections. Ship's 10-deck height is 50 m (165 ft).
  • Ship's name (Nuyina) was chosen by Australian students (via online competition) and officially announced on September 29, 2017. It means " southern lights" in the Tasmanian Aborigines language palawa kani.
  • After its delivery (scheduled for late-April 2020), RSV Nuyina will replace Aurora Australis (operated by AAD / Australian Antarctic Division). Vessel's projected lifespan is at least 30 years.
  • The icebreaker will be operated by Serco Defence and homeported in Hobart (Tasmania). The inaugural cruise to Antarctica will be in summer 2020-2021.

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