Australia Contracts Replacement for Aurora Australis
The Australian Antarctic Division will use the ice-class multipurpos vessel Everest to resupply its Antarctic stations and sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island next summer as Aurora Australis has been retired.
The Everest is operated by Dutch company Maritime Construction Services and is capable of navigating in ice up to one meter thick. She will operate instead of Australia's new icebreaker RSV Nuyina after the newbuild's delivery date has been delayed. The 140 meter long ship was built in 2017 and will be used for a minimum of 90 days next Antarctic summer season.
The vessel can accommodate up to 100 expeditioners, has large fuel storage tanks and space for up to 96 twenty-foot cargo containers on its decks. She also has a helipad above the bridge which will be used for ship-to-shore resupply operations.
Australia’s new icebreaker RSV Nuyina was due to arrive in Hobart at the end of the year, but the current COVID-19 pandemic will delay its arrival.
“The fit-out and testing schedule for the vessel is being severely impacted by travel restrictions around the world, with specialist teams unable to get to the shipyard in Romania,” Australian Antarctic Division General Manager of Operations and Safety, Charlton Clark. “Due to the uncertainty around the coronavirus situation, we don’t know when the ship will be finished.”
It’s not expected that the delay will have any impact on the cost of the long-term contract.