New RSV Nuyina icebreaker out of service due to mechanical problem

Australia’s newest icebreaker, RSV Nuyina, is out of service for the foreseeable future after checks revealed key mechanical parts needed replacing.

The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) said the $528 million vessel was in Singapore for scheduled maintenance when hydraulic leaks related to large couplings connected to the propulsion shafts were discovered.

The manufacturer has determined that the couplings need to be replaced, ruling out the Nuyina from being used in the 2022-23 Antarctic season as planned.

Supply chain issues will add months of delays and the AAD has been unable to set a date for the completion of repairs.

“The challenge for us is getting those parts, getting them manufactured and installing them,” said AAD Director Kim Ellis.

“Everything indicates so far that it will not be finished before the start of 2023 … it is too early to be precise on the dates of Nuyina’s arrival in Hobart. »

It’s not the first setback for the brand new icebreaker, which suffered engine problems before arriving in Hobart last October.

Her maiden voyage to Antarctica was later delayed due to a problem with the alarm and monitoring system.

Nuyina suffered engine trouble before she first arrived in Hobart last October.(Provided: Caroline Tan)

Two other ships, the icebreaker Aiviq and the ice-reinforced freighter Happy Dynamic will be used in the interim.

Mr Ellis said basic science objectives for the coming season would continue, while some marine science would take place over the winter.

“This impact will be minimal on our core operational and scientific activities,” Ellis said.

The AAD expects to be able to pick up Expeditionaries and deliver new personnel roughly on schedule.

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