Building a bridge

The front of bridge consoles arranged for a factory acceptance test in Norway.
The front of bridge consoles undergoing a Factory Acceptance Test in Norway in November. At the front right of the image are consoles for the Seapath 380 and dynamic positioning system. At the back on the left is the console that controls internal lighting, the drop keels and a sonar display. (Photo: Mike Jackson)
A paper version of the Nuyina bridge, mocked up with instruments printed to scale and mounted at the same height and distance as they would appear on the ship. This section shows the central console and instruments to its right.Central driving console.A 1:1 scale mock-up of the central conning console.These scientific consoles display a weather radar, ice/wave radar, CCTV and satellite information.These port-side consoles contain the ship’s lights (left), controls for the drop keel (centre) and the sonar display. On the far right is the stand-alone pilot’s console.These multi-function displays can present information from the sensor integrator and any other instruments.The Factory Acceptance Test team with representatives from Kongsberg Maritime, Damen, Serco and Mike Jackson (second left) from the Australian Antarctic Division.The Dynamic Positioning system console.The Seapath 380 display screen.

The bridge of Australia’s new Antarctic icebreaker RSV Nuyina combines cutting-edge technology with functional design to ensure the ship’s safety in the unpredictable Southern Ocean.

Just as ‘form follows function’ in modern industrial design, function is a key design driver on the bridge of Australia’s new icebreaker, RSV Nuyina, and critical to the vessel’s efficient and safe operation.

So who better to apply this design principle than former ship Captain and Australian Antarctic Division Icebreaker Project Officer, Mike Jackson, and former Captain of Australia’s current icebreaker Aurora Australis, Scott Laughlin.

To begin, the pair covered walls and work benches with sheets of paper printed with life-size graphic representations of the bridge instruments.

Then, by sitting at the central and side-wing ‘conning’ (driving) positions, and “using a bit of role play” to move between the different functions of the bridge, they were able to adapt the original bridge design, provided by the Damen ship-builders, to their needs.

In early November Mr Jackson travelled to Norway to see the design in action, witnessing the Factory Acceptance Test of Nuyina’s bridge systems, before installation on the ship.

The three day trial involved inspecting all the consoles and instruments, and then testing the ship’s systems in normal and failure situations using a simulator.