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RSV Nuyina lights up future for Antarctic Research

Australia has entered a new era of Antarctic research and exploration with the nation’s new icebreaker, the RSV Nuyina, arriving in Hobart for the first time this morning.

A $1.9 billion Morrison Government investment over the next thirty years, the 160-metre-long vessel is the most advanced research platform of its kind in the world.

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the ship will be a world class base for Antarctic expeditioners, a quantum leap forward for our scientific research capacity and a clear symbol of Australia’s Antarctic ambition.

“This is a vessel that can map the ocean floor to a depth of 11,000 metres, research polar weather patterns in the upper atmosphere and act as a floating laboratory to monitor the health of our oceans and marine ecosystems,” Minister Ley said.

“Her arrival in Hobart will allow the Morrison Government to deploy ground-breaking scientific equipment including traverse vehicles and specialist drilling material for the million-year ice core project.

“The Nuyina is truly one of the most remarkable ships in the world, a floating, hybrid powered, scientific research station capable of breaking through 1.65-metre-thick Antarctic sea ice and withstanding 14 metre seas, hurricane winds and temperatures of minus 30 degrees Celsius.

“This is a ship designed to adapt the science of next 30 years.”

Crews in Hobart will immediately begin the final commissioning phase for the ship, ahead of its first trip south and a later public launch ceremony.

The Nuyina completed her 24,000-kilometre journey from the Netherlands in 47 days encountering her first big Southern Ocean swells with ease last week and arriving at the mouth of the Derwent on schedule this morning.

Senator for Tasmania the Hon Jonno Duniam welcomed the Nuyina to Hobart this morning.

“This is a spectacular day for Hobart, reinforcing its place as the world’s greatest gateway to Antarctica,” Senator Duniam said.

“The Nuyina will be a stunning sight on the Hobart waterfront and an ongoing reminder of the Morrison Government’s commitment to Tasmania as an international Antarctic science hub.”

Senator for Tasmania Eric Abetz said it was fitting that the Nuyina arrived just days after the 40th anniversary of the Australian Antarctic Division’s move to Hobart in 1981.

“This is a commitment to the next 30 years and beyond,” Senator Abetz said.

“It sends a clear signal to Tasmanians that the Morrison Government is focussed on local investment and on creating jobs.”

Fast facts

  • Nuyina, pronounced noy-yee-nah, means “southern lights” in palawa kani, the language of Tasmanian Aborigines.
  • Its use of advanced, noise cushioned, hybrid propulsion systems mean it is the quietest icebreaker (the only one with an international Silent R notation for noise) allowing the Nuyina to conduct scientific research with minimal disturbance to the ecosystems below.
  • The ship is equipped with four permanent scientific laboratories and can accommodate an additional 20 containerised laboratories for specialised research projects that will evolve over coming decades.
  • A ‘moon pool’ gives direct access to the ocean through the hull of the ship allowing the deployment of submersibles even when the ship is surrounded by ice.
  • A unique Australian designed ‘wet well’ system allows underwater biological samples to be captured from deep below the ship without damaging the specimens in the process.
  • The Nuyina can accommodate two medium sized or four small helicopters.
  • The ‘aft’ heli-deck is the size of around 7 cricket pitches.
  • There are 6 embarked support vessels (1 science tender, 2 landing barges, 2 personnel transfer tenders and 1 stern tender).
  • More than 650km of electrical and data cables have been installed.
  • Length 160.3m, beam 25.6 m, displacement 25,000 tonnes, maximum draft 9.3 m.
  • Cruising speed 12 knots, maximum sustained speed of 16 knots; break ice of 1.65 m at a continuous 3 knots.
  • Rated to handle waves above 14 m; hurricane winds (Beaufort scale 12) and temperatures from −30° to +45° Celsius.
  • Can accommodate 117 personnel and 32 crew for 92 days at sea.
  • $1.9 billion includes $529 million build cost and operational costs over 30 years.
A large research vessel sails away from camera in to a setting sun
Nuyina heading in to the sunset near the Canary Islands Photo: Pete Harmsen/AAD
This content was last updated 2 months ago on .

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