R/V Aurora Borealis, Drillship

John Konrad
Total Views: 60
July 25, 2008



The most technologically advanced drillship in the world is not on lovaton in the gulf of mexico or in a Korean shipyard. Actually it’s not even built yet. Meet the Aurora Borealis, a dynamically positioned, drillship/icebreaker, arctic research vessel designed for the European Union. The official website tells us;

The Research Icebreaker AURORA BOREALIS will be the most advanced Polar Research Vessel in the world with a multi-functional role of drilling in deep ocean basins and supporting climate/environmental research for the next 40 years.

The new technological features will include azimuth propulsion systems, satellite navigation, ice-management support, deep-sea drilling under a closed sea-ice cover and the deployment and operation of Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) from one of the two moon-pools.

The unique feature of the vessel is the drilling rig, which will enable sampling of the ocean floor down to 5000 m water depth and with 1000 m penetration into the seafloor at the most inhospitable places on earth. The drilling capability will be deployed in both polar regions and AURORA BOREALIS will be the only vessel worldwide to undertake this type of scientific investigation.

Technical Details:

• Powerful icebreaker with ca. 55 MW (diesel-electric)
• Highest classification for icebreakers
• Twin hull
• Two moon pools 7 x 7 m each
• Dynamic Positioning System
• Deep-sea drilling under a closed sea-ice cover
• Drilling rig: max. 5,000 m water depth and 1,000 m core
• Riserless drilling technology
• Modularized mobile laboratory systems – mission specific laboratories
Length over all ca. 180 m | Beam ca. 40 m | Personnel (crew + scientists) 120 | Expedition duration 60 days.


For more information on the Aurora Borealis visit the official website HERE or download the presentation HERE. For the oceanography geeks a more detailed study can be found HERE.

UPDATE: The BBC has just run an excellent article on this vessel which can be found HERE.

Drillship Icebreaker

Note: This article was originally posted in Jan 08

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