Australia’s icebreaker set to return to duties

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Australia’s $529 million Antarctic science and research vessel is set to return to duty after being put on ice for the best part of a year due to maintenance.

The RSV Nuyina arrived in Hobart on Monday after repairs in Singapore to fix problems with couplings connecting the vessel’s propulsion shafts with the clutches.

It arrived in Singapore last April for routine maintenance that was delayed when spare parts couldn’t be sourced.

The cargo ship Happy Diamond chartered to replace Nuyina in summer ran into several problems.

It was forced to turn back from an Antarctic resupply voyage in November due to mechanical problems and in February briefly ran aground off Mawson Station.

The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) says Nuyina will prepare for a ‚Äúcomplex‚ÄĚ trip to sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island in May.

It will deliver hundreds of tonnes of cargo, including barges, to the outpost and transport scientists undertaking ecological, ocean and atmospheric research.

Nuyina will return to Australia before heading south again to the Southern Ocean where further tests will be conducted on the vessel as part of its commissioning.

Tests will then be carried out on the ship’s 150 science systems, including its moon pool, echosounders and winches.

Plans for the 2023/24 summer include multiple voyages to Antarctica to resupply stations and conduct marine research.

The AAD describes Nuyina, which replaced the Aurora Australis, as one of the most complex scientific icebreakers in the world.

Nuyina first arrived in Hobart in October 2021 after delays in construction and delivery.

Its maiden voyage south was pushed back after issues with the ship’s alarm and monitoring system.

 

Ethan James
(Australian Associated Press)

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