Australian Antarctic Magazine — Issue 38: June 2020

Icebreaker’s propeller turns for the first time

Aerial view of the green decks of the icebreaker Nuyina.
The starboard propeller of the RSV Nuyina turned for the first time in January. (Photo: Damen)

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

The rotation of the 43.5 tonne propeller and another 80 tonnes of shaft line marked 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 subsequently started the main engine and commissioned the port propeller.

While the ship is now 98 per cent complete, final harbour acceptance trials and sea trials have been delayed due to travel restrictions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. The delay is not expected to have any impact on the cost of the long-term contract.

Wendy Pyper
Australian Antarctic Division