Ships are crucial in Antarctic scientific research and operations. Ships are used to transport people, equipment and supplies, survey the coastline, conduct marine science, and resupply stations.

Shipping has been vital to the Australian Antarctic Program since its establishment as the National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE) in 1947.

Over the years, polar icebreakers and other vessels have been chartered to support the Program. The Aurora Australis, launched in 1989, initiated a new era of research and resupply capability. Australia’s new icebreaker, RSV Nuyina, will further advance Australia’s Antarctic capabilities.

The following pages provide an overview of key vessels. Learn about each ship's specifications and important Antarctic voyages.