RSV Nuyina heads to Hobart

1 September 2021

Australia’s state of the art Antarctic research vessel, the RSV Nuyina, is on its way to Hobart launching a new era for Australian Antarctic science.

The most advanced vessel of its kind to be deployed in the Southern Ocean, the newly constructed and commissioned icebreaker left Vlissingen in the Netherlands last night on its 24,000 kilometre journey to Hobart by late October.

Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley, said the 160m long Nuyina has been purpose built for the Australian Antarctic Program.

“This is a ship capable of breaking through Antarctic sea ice, withstanding 14m seas and temperatures of minus 30 degrees to service our Antarctic stations, while also working as a state of the art floating science platform in her own right,” Minister Ley said.

“The RSV Nuyina will soon be the backbone of the Australian Antarctic Program, able to support voyages of 90 days at a time.

“It will establish a scientific legacy that will last for generations and today is a huge milestone for climate research, and our study of Antarctic and marine ecosystems.

The Morrison Government is investing $1.9 billion to cover the design and build of the ship as well as its operation and maintenance over an expected 30-year life span.

Australian Antarctic Division Director, Kim Ellis, said the departure from Vlissingen under the command of Vessel operator Serco and an Australian crew was a monumental occasion for the Antarctic program, and there is a palpable excitement in Hobart and the broader Antarctic community.

“Seeing the Nuyina in its home port will reinforce and reflect the incredible importance of Hobart as an Antarctic Gateway, not just for Australia but for other nations that use this port,” Mr Ellis said.

Master of the ship, Captain Gerry O’Doherty, a veteran of previous Australian Antarctic voyages, is excited to be at the helm. 

“The people of Hobart will be blown away when they see the size of the ship. It’s just very imposing; very impressive,” he said.

Once it arrives, Nuyina will undertake an intensive period of testing, commissioning and certification of various systems and capabilities, including ice trials in Antarctica.