New icebreaker propels to life

Nuyina's first spin

Video transcript

ROB BRYSON: Which is about testing the propulsion system of the ship. So this is the very first stage of that.

So what we did in the beginning of this milestone is we rotated the propeller for about four revolutions over a period of about two minutes, which doesn’t sound like much, but when you think about it, the advanced electric drive was turning about 120 tonnes of high tensile steel. So that includes 43.5 tonnes of propeller plus another 80 tonnes of shaft lines.

The propulsion system is the beating heart of the vessel. That’s what actually provides the forward movement of the vessel and the power, so without a propulsion system you don’t really have a ship, and it’s just a static dumb barge. So having that working is a significant event for us and provides a lot of power for Nuyina and she’ll probably be the most powerful icebreaker in Antarctica when she goes online at the end of this year.

[end transcript]

Aerial photo of the Nuyina beside the wharf in Romania.
The starboard propeller of the RSV Nuyina has been turned for the first time. (Photo: Rob Bryson)

The propulsion system of Australia’s icebreaker, RSV Nuyina, has heaved to life with the turning of the starboard propeller for the first time.

The rotation of the 43.5 tonne propeller and another 80 tonnes of shaft line marks another major milestone in the ship’s construction.

General Manager of the Australian Antarctic Division’s Assets and Infrastructure Group, Rob Bryson, said it was exciting to watch the ship come to life.

“The Damen shipyard commissioning team activated the advanced electric drive, which is connected to the shaft line, and used the ship’s diesel generators to power that drive and rotate the propeller,” he said.

“It made four revolutions over two minutes, which doesn’t sound like much, but it was turning about 120 tonnes of high tensile steel.”

The shipyard team also started the main engine and began work to commission the port propeller over the coming weeks.

During his visit to the Romanian shipyard Mr Bryson also took in the internal fitout of the ship.

“The construction program is very advanced and the internal fitout is about 95 per cent complete,” he said.

“The cabins are almost complete, the bridge looks like a bridge, the scullery, dining room and theatrette are top notch, and the colour scheme is sensational.

“Not only is it a good looking ship but it will also be the most powerful icebreaker in Antarctica when it goes online at the end of the year.”