Australia's Icebreaker Taking Shape

By The Maritime Executive 03-17-2018 06:54:57

Australia's new icebreaking research vessel RSV Nuyina is taking shape in the dry dock at Damen Shipyards in Romania, with more than 7,000 tons of steel cut and the assembly of the base of the hull complete.

The RSV Nuyina is being built from 10,000 tons of steel, made into 229 sections that will be molded into 57 steel blocks. At Damen Shipyards, block sizes are limited to 300 tons, which is the lifting capacity of the cranes. Because of her weight, only about half the ship will be constructed in the dry dock before she is floated out to a wet dock for completion.

A large number of sections are required due to the weight of the steel needed for icebreaking; some of the steel plate is 130 millimeters (five inches) thick. A number of high tensile grades are being used to ensure the ship can cope with freezing Antarctic temperatures. Above the water line the steel can withstand temperatures down to -40°C, while the steel below the water line can withstand -10°C.

The Nuyina will serve as a scientific research platform, icebreaker and resupply ship. She is designed for helicopter operations in up to sea state 3 (1.25 meter wave height) and the deployment of watercraft in up to sea state 4 (2.5 meter wave height). Her cruising speed is 12 knots.

She will be able to break 1.65-meter (5.4-foot) ice at a continuous speed of three knots and will use a hybrid propulsion system with two diesel engines driving controllable pitch propellers when icebreaking. Electric motors, powered by diesel generators on flexible mounting systems to absorb vibration, will power the ship for noise-sensitive research operations. 

Harbor acceptance trials are scheduled for 2019; delivery for 2020.

Nuyina will be painted in International Orange, reminiscent of the nation’s current icebreaker, the Aurora Australis.