Icebreaker at a glance

A red B3 helicopter flies over sea ice.
The new icebreaker will have space for four B3 helicopters. (Photo: Richard Youd)

The new icebreaker will provide a state-of-the-art platform to conduct multidisciplinary science in sea ice and open water. It will also deliver personnel, cargo and equipment to and from Australia’s Antarctic stations and Macquarie Island.

The icebreaker will be able to handle:

  • waves up to sea state 9 (over 14 metres significant wave height);
  • wind speed up to Beaufort 12 (hurricane);
  • air temperature ranging from −30°C to 45°C; and
  • water temperatures ranging from −2°C to 32°C.

As well as its modern scientific capabilities (see main story) the ship will be able to:

  • travel at an efficient cruising speed of 12 knots, with a maximum sustained speed of 16 knots in open water;
  • break 1.65 metre-thick ice at a continuous speed of 3 knots;
  • transfer personnel and cargo from ship to shore, over water, ice and by air;
  • support the use of four light helicopters or two medium helicopters;
  • handle, stow and transport up to
    • 1200 tonnes of solid cargo consisting primarily of containers and break bulk cargo, including large items of plant and equipment, and
    • 1 900 000 litres of bulk liquid cargo (Special Antarctic Blend diesel used for station operations);
  • support voyages for up to 90 days, which includes the ability to remain within the Antarctic area for up to 80 days;
  • accommodate 116 personnel; and
  • ensure minimal environmental impact.