Australia’s icebreaking research vessel has encountered one more setback and will not resupply the Macquarie Island station as initially planned, and a chartered vessel is now taking its place.
The Romanian-built, $528m vessel, RSV Nuyina, enhances the country’s climate research endeavours in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica.
However, it has endured several problems since its delivery in 2021, which was delayed by almost a year owing to the ongoing pandemic.
Nuyina’s first voyage to Antarctica in late 2021 got delayed due to problems with its alarm system. Problems were detected before it reached the Casey Station, and during repairs to the clutch system some months later, Damen, the manufacturer, determined that the shaft couplings required replacing.
The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) was planning if, in March, Nuyina could refuel the Macquarie Island station while it was collecting the returning expedition. However, the division has confirmed that it will be taken care of by a chartered icebreaker named Aiviq.
Like any other new and complex vessel, Nuyina will need some time for commissioning as it embarks on a journey to prepare to serve Australia’s Southern and Antarctic Ocean Science efforts over the next few decades, an AAD spokesperson explained.
While Nuyina was expected to return to Australia in March 2023, they will probably return in April. And due to contingency planning, Aiviq will undertake the Macquarie Island trip.
References: The Guardian, MSN
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