The Australian Government has provided details of Australia’s new state-of-the-art icebreaker set to replace the Aurora Australis as the flagship of Australia’s Antarctic Division in 2019.
The new icebreaker is designed by Danish naval architects, Knud E. Hansen, and will be built by Damen Shipyards of the Netherlands. DMS Maritime, owned by British-based Serco, has been selected as the preferred tenderer in the project.
Plans call for the ship to measure 156 meters in length and displace 23,400 tonnes, with accommodation for 34 crew and up to 116 personnel. The ship will primarily be used to supply Australia’s three permanent Antarctic research stations with cargo, equipment and personnel, but it will also as a research ship itself with extensive lab facilities. Among those features, the ship will include a moon pool, two helipads, a multi-beam bathymetric echo sounder for seafloor mapping, and flexible science laboratories.
The icebreaker will be faster, larger, stronger and offer increased endurance compared with the aging Aurora Australis, which has been operating in the Southern Ocean since 1989.
Under the anticipated contract, the icebreaker will be designed and built by DMS Maritime’s subcontractor Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding in Romania. DMS Maritime would then operate and maintain the vessel in support of the Australian Antarctic programme on a long-term basis.
Commissioning is anticipated for 2019.
More images of the icebreaker:
Images: Australian Government