RSV Nuyina is Australia’s new Antarctic research and supply vessel.
The ‘Southern Lights’ brightened the gloomy weather in Hobart on October 16. Unfortunately, a COVID-19 lockdown put an end to plans to welcome Australia’s new Antarctic Research Vessel at the end of her maiden voyage. For those fortunate enough to be present, her bright orange 160m hull was a sight to remember as she came up the Derwent and tied up at Macquarie Wharf.
The voyage of 24,000km, which took 47 days, began in the Netherlands. Her builder was Damen Shipyards Group, a world-renowned shipbuilder with yards in many countries. Construction started in July 2017 at its Galatz shipyard in Romania, about 80km up the Danube River from the Black Sea. In 2020 Nuyina was towed from Romania to the Netherlands, where the vessel was completed.
The name Nuyina is a Tasmanian Aboriginal word meaning Southern Lights – the Aurora Australis – and is pronounced ‘noy yee nah’. The name was chosen in 2017 after a competition for school children was won by students from a school in Hobart and another in Perth. The prize for the 12 students was a 6000-kilometre round-trip from Hobart to Antarctica. During three hours spent on the ice they met Australian scientists and expeditioners. They visited an Antarctic field camp and were taken to the Antarctic Circle in a tracked snow vehicle.
The $500 million vessel is part of a $1.9 billion investment by the Australian Government to build, maintain and operate the ship over the next 30 years. The vessel will be a platform for scientific research and also carry supplies and personnel to Australia’s Antarctic and sub-Antarctic stations. She can transport 1200 tonnes of solid cargo, 1.9 million litres of liquid cargo, 96 (20-foot) containers, 117 passengers, and a crew of 32 on voyages lasting for three months. Cranes on board can move and deliver cargo on to the ice or a waiting barge. Nuyina can operate in huge waves and hurricane-force wind, in extremes of temperature and can travel at a continuous speed of 5km/h through ice up to 1.65m thick.
President, Peninsula Ship Society
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The Peninsula Ship Society usually meets at Hastings Yacht Club on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 10 am. Meetings are not possible at present. Visitors will be welcome when things return to normal.