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About the ship

Australia’s new Antarctic icebreaker, RSV Nuyina is the triathlete of Antarctic vessels — a scientific research platform, icebreaker and resupply ship in one.

Science

Scientists on board Nuyina will study the Antarctic environment in a way that's never been possible before. Nuyina will collect samples and data from the bottom of the deepest sea canyons, through the depths of the oceans and ice, to the atmosphere and into space! Scientists will study the Antarctic ecosystem from the tiniest plankton to the largest mammals on earth.

Nuyina can deploy, operate and recover a range of equipment and instruments in all kinds of weather and ice conditions, and with impressive precision.

It has a range of work spaces and facilities that can be tailored to the needs of a particular science purpose. A specialised science tender, or small boat, can be launched from Nuyina to get a closer look at some aspects of the environment. The ship can operate as a floating station, supporting teams of scientists studying the Southern Ocean marine environment, sea ice and atmosphere, or even working on the Antarctic continent.

The RSV Nuyina operates in full integration with ocean research vessel (RV) Investigator, part of Australia’s Marine National Facility operated by CSIRO, working together to study our amazing oceans from tropical climes right down to the edge of the Antarctic continent.

Nuyina is designed to support the science that answers the critical questions of today. The ship also stands ready to support the science of the future, as the centrepiece of the Australian Antarctic Program over the next 30 years.

For more information check out our science pages.

Icebreaker

Nuyina is the main lifeline to Australia’s Antarctic and sub-Antarctic stations. Its combination of speed, size, strength and endurance is unparallelled in the history of Antarctic shipping.

The icebreaker can handle waves up to 14 m high, and hurricane-like wind speeds up to 12 on the Beaufort scale. Nuyina can operate in air temperatures ranging from −30° to 45° Celsius and water temperatures from −2° to 32° Celsius.

Nuyina's cruising speed is 12 knots (about 22 km/h), with a maximum sustained speed of 16 knots (30 km/h) in open water. It can break ice continuously travelling 3 knots (5.5 km/h) where the ice is 1.65 m thick.

Resupply

Nuyina has an important role in delivering personnel, cargo and equipment to and from Antarctic and sub-Antarctic stations. Personnel and cargo can be transferred from the icebreaker to the stations over water, over ice and by air.

Nuyina can handle, stow and transport up to 1200 tonnes of solid cargo, including containers and large items of plant and equipment. The ship has its own cargo cranes to move and deliver cargo onto the ice or a waiting barge.

It can transport 1.9 million litres of bulk liquid cargo, usually fuel. Special Antarctic Blend (SAB) diesel is the fuel that keeps our Antarctic stations warm and powered up for station operations.

Nuyina can support voyages up to 90 days long, with up to 80 of those days in the Antarctic zone. There's space for 117 passengers with modern services including a specialised medical facility, gym and passenger lounge.

A marine laboratory with sinks,benches, storage cupboards and scientific equipment.
Scientists have dedicated laboratories on board Nuyina, including this space for sorting and processing marine samples. Photo: Pete Harmsen
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