VIDEO: Australia’s new icebreaker on the move

Australia’s new icebreaker RSV Nuyina is bound for final commissioning and sea trials in the Netherlands, surviving its first underwater scrape in the process.

VIDEO: Australia’s new icebreaker on the move
Photo: Australian Antarctic Division

One of the world’s most advanced scientific research vessels, the Nuyina has been built in the Romanian shipyard of Galati and is now on a month long journey, under tow to the Dutch port of Vlissingen.

This will allow teams of equipment installers from Western Europe to access the ship for final commissioning of essential propulsion, electrical and navigation systems, after work was suspended due to the pandemic.

Australian Antarctic Division General Manager Assets and Infrastructure, Rob Bryson, said the vessel is built to break ice 1.65 metres thick and its bow had an unexpected test in the Danube River.

Mr Bryson said:

“The ship made contact with the riverbank while being steered away from an uncharted pontoon. Visual inspections show only superficial damage and after an hour delay, Nuyina continued to the Black Sea and then to the city of Constanta, where divers are now undertaking a thorough examination of the hull. This is a 16,300 tonne icebreaker, with a reinforced steel hull designed to crack through sea-ice, so while this is the ship’s first scrape, it certainly won’t be its last!”

The move to the Netherlands is a big step forward for the project and will give technical experts greater access to the ship after months of COVID restrictions.

The RSV Nuyina is being towed 6,800 kilometres through the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar to reach the Netherlands by the end of August.

A single 50 metre tug boat is towing the vessel on the ocean passages, and up to three tugs will be used through some of the narrower canals.

Because the icebreaker hasn’t undergone sea trials, it doesn’t have the required regulatory certificates to conduct international voyages under its own power.

It’s expected the RSV Nuyina will arrive in Hobart in the middle of next year.