Australia's New Antarctic Barges Undergo Sea Trials

Published Oct 22, 2019 8:26 PM by The Maritime Executive

Antarctic landing barges destined to work alongside Australia’s new icebreaker RSV Nuyina are undergoing sea trials on Hobart’s River Derwent.

The two aluminum landing barges will carry up to 45 tonnes of cargo from ship to shore at Australia’s Antarctic and sub Antarctic stations. The 16.3-meter long and 6.2-meter wide barges have been built by Taylor Bros, and shipbuilder Phil Taylor said his team worked with the Australian Antarctic Division, Serco Australia and Damen on the design and construction of the barges to take into account the extreme conditions in which they will operate. “It’s been a real challenge to balance all the requirements, including operating temperatures down to minus 30 degrees Celsius and wind speeds of up to 50 knots,” Taylor said. “We also had to consider stability with heavy loads on board, fuel carrying capacity and structural strength.”

The barges will be aboard the RSV Nuyina, along with three purpose built personnel transfer tenders and a scientific research tender.

Replacing the Aurora Australis, the RSV Nuyina will be faster, larger, stronger and offer increased endurance. The vessel will supply Antarctic research stations with cargo, equipment and personnel, and as a research ship, she will also have extensive laboratory facilities on board. 

The 160-meter long, 24,000-ton vessel that will accommodate 34 crew and up to 116 scientific personnel was designed by KNUD E. HANSEN and is being constructed at the Damen shipyard in Galati, Romania. She is expected to be commissioned in 2020. Serco Australia is managing the ship design and build process, and will then operate and maintain the icebreaker from its home port of Hobart, Tasmania.