On April 28 2016, at a ceremony in Hobart Tasmania, the Australian Government signed a contract with DMS Maritime, a wholly owned subsidiary of Serco, for the delivery, operation and maintenance of an Antarctic Supply Research Vessel (ASRV) with icebreaking capabilities.
The vessel will be built by the Damen Shipyards Group and will form an integral part of the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) programme in the coming years. Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julia Bishop and Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt attended the ceremony.
Explaining the decision to subcontract Damen for the design and building of the vessel, Serco CEO Asia Pacific Mark Irwin said, “Damen is a leading international shipyards group with a strong international presence. As well as building a broad portfolio of standardised vessels in series, Damen has produced a range of bespoken vessels including scientific, hydrographic, naval, and ice ships. Damen and Serco have a strong partnership, and over the last ten years, Damen has supplied over 40 vessels used by Serco to support naval operations in the UK and Australia.”
The realization of this vessel will draw upon a number of companies within the Damen Shipyards Group, and Damen’s wider network. Denmark-based Knud E. Hansen executed the concept and tender designs, whilst engineering and project management is at present being delivered by Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) in Vlissingen, the Netherlands. Construction and outfitting of the vessel will later be carried out at Damen Shipyards Galati, Romania.
Damen Sales Director Asia Pacific Roland Briene said: “Drawing on the diverse skills found across our organization, we are able to connect up all the dots in order to deliver a cohesive, full scope project execution. An icebreaking research and supply vessel such as this represents a new market entry for Damen, and we are very pleased to be working with AAD and DMS on this exciting project.”
Vessel description. The ASRV represents a state-of-the-art solution that will facilitate Australia’s wider exploration of the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. The vessel will be 156 meters in length, with a beam of 25.6 meters, a maximum speed of 16 knots, powered by a diesel and electric hybrid propulsion system, with 3 bow thrusters and 3 more at the stern. Alternatively, the ASRV can travel on silent mode at 8 knots. The vessel will be able to break ice up 1.65 meters at speeds of 3 knots, and will supply Australia’s permanent research stations in Antarctica and Macquarie Island with solid and liquid cargo, equipment and personnel. The ASRV will have 3 cargo cranes, a 760 m2 flight deck, and a 330 m2 hangar, that can accommodate 2 medium or 4 light helicopters. Designed with 500 m2 on board laboratory and office facilities, the vessel will also serve to conduct research activities, disaster relief, evacuation, and patrol. The ASRV has the capacity to host up to 32 DMS Maritime crew, and as many as 116 AAD scientific personnel as well as a doctor in climate-controlled accommodations.
The AAD programme aims at the advancement of Australia’s scientific, strategic, environmental and economic interests in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. It is a world-class programme focused on stewardship, climate research and the study of both terrestrial and marine eco-systems.
After completion at Damen Shipyard in Romania, the ASRV will sail to DSNS in the Netherlands for handover to the Australian Antarctic Division programme, scheduled for an April 2020 delivery.