Aurora Australis News

19 Apr 2019

Aus Icebreaker Nearing Completion

Image: Australian Maritime College

Preparations are ramping up for the arrival of Australia’s newest icebreaker, the RSV Nuyina. The Antarctic icebreaker is due to arrive in Hobart in 2020.RSV Nuyina will be the main lifeline to Australia’s Antarctic and sub-Antarctic research stations and the central platform of our Antarctic and Southern Ocean scientific research.Construction of the ship at Damen Shipyards in Romania commenced in May 2017, with a steel cutting ceremony, while a keel laying ceremony in August…

06 Nov 2017

Damen Contracts Taylor Bros for Icebreaker Barges

left to right:  Mr. Peter Gutwein (the Tasmanian Minister for State Growth), Mr. Magiel Venema (Damen Australia Project Director), Mr. Greg Taylor (Taylor Bros), Mr. Phillip Taylor (Taylor Bros) (Photo: DSNS)

Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) has selected Taylor Bros of Tasmania to supply two high powered Antarctic landing barges for Australia’s new icebreaker, the RSV Nuyina. Damen is building the vessel at its yard, Damen Shipyards Galati, in Romania for the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). The vessel will be operated by DMS Maritime, a wholly owned subsidiary of Serco, and is an integral part of the AAD’s research program in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. The signing ceremony was attended by the Tasmanian Minister for State Growth, Mr.

26 Feb 2016

Australian Icebreaker Refloated in Antarctica

Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis was refloated on Friday, two days after running aground in Antarctica while on a mission to resupply the Mawson Station, Australian Broadcasting Corp reported. The ship broke free of its moorings during a blizzard on Wednesday morning. None of the 67 expeditioners and crew on board on the ship, owned by P&O Maritime Services, were injured, according to the Australian Antarctic Division. "Expeditioners on board the Aurora Australis have been successfully transferred by barge to Mawson Station," it said. The Aurora Australis departed Australia's Tasmania island in early January to conduct research on an undersea geological formation. Ships traveling to and from Antarctica often face risky conditions.

01 Jun 2017

First Steel Cut for Australia's New Polar Research Ship

Photo: Damen

Marking the commencement of construction of the Damen Antarctic Supply Research Vessel (ASRV), a steel cutting ceremony has been held at Damen Shipyards Galati, Romania. Damen is constructing the ASRV for Serco Defence, a wholly owned subsidiary of Serco Australia who, in turn, signed a contract with the Australian Government last year for the delivery, operation and maintenance of the vessel. “Cutting the first steel for any vessel is always significant. However, the fact that the ASRV is such a ground-breaker makes this a very exciting moment,” said Damen Project Director Joop Noordijk.

08 Jun 2016

Mid-winter Air drop for Australian Antarctic Division

The Australian Antarctic Division and Royal Australian Air Force have successfully flown a joint operational mission to East Antarctica, with a C-17A Globemaster III Photo RAAF

A Royal Australian Air Force C-17A Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft from Number 36 Squadron has successfully performed an air drop mission over Antarctica in support of the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) building on the summer drop previously conducted in February 2016. The most recent air drop provides the Royal Australian Air Force with an all-season resupply capability and the ability to provide support to the current expeditioners on the continent. The air drop consisted of pallets containing supplies for vehicles and plant equipment, medical supplies and personal mail.

21 Nov 2016

MAN Powers Antarctic Icebreaker

A graphic of the new icebreaker in the ice (Image: Damen/DMS Maritime/Knud E Hansen A/S).

MAN Diesel & Turbo has been selected to supply the main engines to a new, icebreaking, supply-and-research vessel for the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). The 2 × 16V32/44CR main engines – each producing 9,600 kW – were chosen for their highly reliable and fuel-efficient design that will serve in an environment with a demanding operational profile, including temperatures down to -30 degrees and extended mission times. The vessel is being procured by Serco Defence through DMS Maritime (prime contractor) and will be designed and built by Damen Shipyards Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS).

19 Mar 2015

Icebreaker Makes Emergency Return to Antarctica

Aurora Australis (Photo: Wendy Pyper)

The icebreaker 'Aurora Australis' was forced to return to Antarctica on Thursday, to evacuate a seriously ill Australian expedition member, just two days after leaving him on Davis Station to spend the winter in Antarctica. The Australian icebreaker will take almost two days to cover the 400 nautical miles back to Davis Station, because of sea ice conditions. When it is close enough, a helicopter will ferry the ill man to the ship. "The current weather forecast for the next 40 hours is poor…

25 Feb 2016

Icebreaker Aground in Antarctica

Aerial view of the ship Aurora Australis surrounded by icy and water. Photo by Department of the Environment Australian Antarctic Division

Australia's icebreaker Aurora Australis has run ashore at Mawson Station while resupplying the Antarctic base, reports Reuters. A statement from the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) on Wednesday confirmed 67 expeditioners and crew were on board the ship when it broke free of its mooring lines at 3.15pm during a blizzard. But no-one was injured. An AAD spokeswoman said the ship remains watertight, with no damage to the hull, but blizzard conditions are hampering a full assessment of the damage and the crew are closely monitoring the hull from inside the ship.

02 Sep 2014

Polar Code Afoot

(Photo: Courtesy DNV)

The IMO is on the verge of adopting the Polar Code, something that is important and long overdue. The International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, is on the verge of adopting the Polar Code. When implemented, it will establish the first mandatory rules for operation of commercial vessels in polar waters. This important step is long overdue. On 18 January 2010, the IMO adopted voluntary guidelines for ships operating in polar waters (Res. A.1024).

09 Jan 2014

Chinese Icebreaker's Antarctic Response Gains Recognition

Image courtesy of China Net TV

China’s research vessel and icebreaker 'Xue Long' has entered an area of clear water, after more than ten hours spent breaking up ice. A change in wind direction loosened the floes packed around the vessel, providing an 80-meter stretch of water for the Xuelong to navigate in, reports CNTV. The vessel's helicopter had earlier evacuated all 52 passengers from the stranded Russian ship Akademik Shokalskiy to the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis. According to CNTV, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority…

17 Jan 2014

Australian Icebreaker Assists Antarctic Research

Aurora Australis (Photo: Australian Department of the Environment)

Australian Antarctic icebreaker Aurora Australis has departed Casey research station to return to Australia. The ship weighed anchor to leave Casey at 1,600 hours (AEDST) carrying summer personnel, scientists and cargo for return to Australia. The 52 passengers rescued from the Akademik Shokalskiy, who have been well-cared for on board during resupply, are looking forward to the trip home. The journey to Hobart will take approximately seven to eight days and Aurora Australis is expected to arrive in Hobart on or about January 22, about 14 days later than originally scheduled.

22 Jan 2014

Australian Navy Surveys Antarctica

Antarctic Survey Vessel Wyatt Earp Surveying Newcomb Bay. Photo: ABHSO Dyer, Royal Australian Navy

The Royal Australian Navy’s Deployable Geospatial Survey Team returned from a six-week Antarctic expedition to collect essential data for navigational charts and scientific research. The team sailed from Hobart in RSV Aurora Australis on December 11, 2013 to conduct a hydrographic survey in the vicinity of Casey Station, a permanent base in Antarctica managed by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). “We sailed the Wyatt Earp from Aurora Australis seven times in conditions of extreme cold to collect high quality data…

02 Nov 2015

Australia’s New Icebreaker Unveiled

A graphic of the new icebreaker (Image: Damen/DMS Maritime/Knud E Hansen A/S)

The Australian Government has provided the first look at Australia’s new icebreaker, a ship it says will offer scientists unprecedented and extended access to the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. Upon its commissioning, planned for October 2019, the custom-built ship will be home ported in Hobart, providing a modern platform for marine science research in both sea ice and open water and a moon pool for launching and retrieving remotely operated vehicles. A multi-beam bathymetric echo sounder will enable seafloor mapping…

24 Dec 2015

Drone Technology Aids Antarctic Ship Operations

Australian UAV Director James Rennie prepares the drone on the aft deck of the Aurora Australis (Courtesy Australian UAV)

A quadcopter drone has helped navigate the Aurora Australis through the sea ice on its annual resupply voyage to Casey station. Flown off the aft deck of the ship, the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) provided the crew with real-time imagery of the sea ice conditions ahead of the ship, optimising navigation decisions. Australian Antarctic Division Future Concepts Manager, Matt Filipowski, said the drone was a valuable addition to the current suite of sea ice navigation tools, which include satellite imagery and radar.

26 Nov 2013

Australian Resupply Ship Delayed by Heavy Ice

The Aurora Australis two kilometers off station on a clear sunny day at resupply (Photo: Colin)

The Australian Antarctic Division has rescheduled its early season voyages with the icebreaker Aurora Australis delayed in heavy ice conditions off the Antarctic coast. The ship is in heavy ice about 180 nautical miles off Davis station, returning from resupplying the station and delivering summer personnel. Radar satellite images this morning indicated that while there may be some useful openings, the sea ice extends to approximately 60 nautical miles around the ship. Beyond that, less concentrated ice will be easier to navigate. Australian Antarctic Division Director, Dr.

26 Dec 2013

Search and Rescue of Ice-trapped Passenger Vessel Underway

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is coordinating a search and rescue for a Russian passenger ship beset by ice approximately 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart. AMSA’s Rescue Coordination Centre Australia (RCC Australia) was contacted by the Falmouth Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC) in the United Kingdom on Christmas morning. The Falmouth MRCC received a distress message via satellite from a Russian flagged vessel, MV Akademik Shokalskiy, with 74 people about 7:20 a.m. (AEDT). The ship is in the Australian Search and Rescue region, 100 nautical miles east of the French base Dumont D’Urville. RCC Australia assumed coordination of the incident and issued a broadcast to icebreaking vessels in the area.

27 Dec 2013

Rescue for Ice-Beset Vessel Underway

First vessel approaching vessel beset in Antarctic ice The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is continuing the coordination of a search and rescue for a Russian vessel beset by ice approximate ly 1500 nautical miles south of Hobart. AMSA’s Rescue Coordination Centre Australia (RCC Australia) tasked three vessels with icebreaking capability to proceed towards the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, 100 nautical miles east of the French station Dumont D’Urville. The first of the three vessels tasked by RCC Australia is now about 15 nautical miles from the vessel, progressing at slow speed and the second vessel remains about 20 nautical miles away. Weather conditions improved on Friday, with strong winds and snow abating. Conditions are expected to remain favourable for the next two days.

30 Dec 2013

Latest on Ice-bound Antarctic Passenger Ship

Akademik Shokalskiy: Photo courtesy of the owners

The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) vessel 'Aurora Australis' is continuing to make its way to the Russian vessel beset by ice approximately 1500 nautical miles south of Hobart, reports the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s (AMSA). The Aurora Australis, which was tasked by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s (AMSA) Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) to assist the MV Akademic Shokalskiy, is currently located about 11 nautical miles from the Russian vessel in the ice field.

30 Dec 2013

Weather Conditions Impact Antarctica Rescue

Adverse weather conditions have resulted in the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) vessel Aurora Australis moving back into open water this afternoon. The area where the MV Akademik Shokalskiy is beset by ice is currently experiencing winds of up to 30 knots and snow showers. These weather conditions have resulted in poor visibility and made it difficult and unsafe for the Aurora Australis to continue today’s attempt to assist the MV Akademik Shokalskiy. Further attempts may be made by the vessel in due course to undertake the rescue once weather conditions improve. The Aurora Australis made it within 10 nautical miles of the MV Akademik Shokalskiy but is now located in open waters about 18 nautical miles east of the Russian vessel.

01 Jan 2014

Antarctic Expedition Vessel Passengers to be Airlifted

MV Akademik Shokalskiy: Photo courtesy of Expeditions Online

The latest news update from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s (AMSA) Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) informs that the Australian icebreaker 'Aurora Australis' is unable to reach the stranded 'Akademik Shokalskiy' as it would risk becoming beset itself if it continued with rescue attempts. Evacuation of passengers by helicopter is now planned. The Aurora Australis made attempts yesterday to reach the MV Akademik Shokalskiy but was driven back into open waters due to adverse weather conditions with winds up to 30 knots and snow showers causing poor visibility.

02 Jan 2014

MV Akademik Shokalskiy Update

Barbara Tucker, a passenger on the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, watches a penguin on the ice off east Antarctica on Dec. 29. / Andrew Peacock, AFP/Getty Images

Rescue operations delayed by ice conditions. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s (AMSA) Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) has been advised this morning that sea ice conditions in the area are likely to delay today’s planned rescue of passengers from the MV Akademik Shokalskiy. It is now likely the rescue will not go ahead today. AMSA understands that current sea ice conditions prevent the barge from Aurora Australis from reaching the Chinese vessel Xue Long (Snow Dragon) and a rescue may not be possible today.

03 Jan 2014

Update: Chinese Icebreaker Stuck After Rescue

Chinese rescue helicopter lands: Image courtesy of Australian Antarctic Expedition

According to a Reuters report, the Chinese icebreaker that helped rescue 52 passengers from a Russian ship stranded in Antarctic ice found itself stuck in ice on Friday, January 3, 2014. According to the Reuters report, Snow Dragon had ferried the passengers from the stranded Russian ship to an Australian icebreaker late on Thursday. It now had concerns about its own ability to move through heavy ice, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said. The Australian icebreaker carrying the rescued passengers…

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