Software issues delay icebreaker departure

·1-min read

The maiden Antarctic voyage of Australia's new $529 million icebreaker has been delayed due to issues with the ship's alarm and monitoring system.

The RSV Nuyina, which was officially launched at the Hobart waterfront on Saturday, was scheduled to head south on Monday night.

Final testing of the 160-metre, 25,000-tonne vessel's alarm and monitoring system software by operators Serco found issues which need to be resolved before departure, the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) said.

It is expected to set sail with 67 expeditioners and crew later this week.

The expeditioners, who have been in isolation in Hobart for two weeks, will board the vessel on Tuesday to undertake training and induction.

Nuyina will deliver two helicopters to Davis research station and refuel Casey station, and will also commission marine science projects.

It is almost twice as big as Australia's previous Antarctic supply vessel, the 90-metre Aurora Australis, which was in service for 30 years.

AAD director Kim Ellis told media at the launch he expected minor challenges during the ship's first trip to the frozen continent.

Nuyina will take 10 days to reach Davis station, where it will stay for a few days, before a four-day trip to Casey, and a seven-day journey back to Tasmania.

A two-month research trip is scheduled across February and March.

The ship was originally expected to arrive in Tasmania in 2020, and had suffered building delays prior to COVID-19.

Two charter ships will support Nuyina over the summer, the ice-strengthened heavy cargo ship Happy Dragon and a smaller icebreaker Aiviq.

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