New icebreaker plans unveiled

The Australian Antarctic Division presented plans for its new Antarctic icebreaker in October.

Prime Minister, the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, and Environment Minister, the Hon. Greg Hunt, unveiled a scale model of the ship, which will be faster, larger, stronger and offer increased endurance compared to the existing icebreaker Aurora Australis.

The new ship provides a modern platform for marine science research in both sea ice and open water and a moon pool for launching and retrieving remotely operated underwater vehicles. A multi-beam bathymetric echo sounder will enable seafloor mapping, while portable science laboratories will offer scientists space to conduct research.

The once-in-a-generation investment by the Australian Government will form the centrepiece of Australia’s Antarctic presence and influence the shape of Australia’s Antarctic program for decades to come.

Australian company DMS Maritime Pty Ltd has been selected as preferred tenderer to undertake the ship design and building process, and will then operate and maintain the icebreaker.

The Department of the Environment and DMS Maritime Pty Ltd have recently commenced formal contract negotiations.

Subject to successful contract negotiations, the icebreaker will be built by Damen Shipyards, a highly reputable global shipbuilder that has produced a broad range of bespoke vessels, including scientific, hydrographic, naval and ice-class ships.

The new icebreaker is expected to be commissioned in October 2019.

Corporate Communications
Australian Antarctic Division