TWELVE Tasmanian school children are going to Antarctica after winning the competition to name the Australian Antarctic division’s new icebreaker.
Environment minister, Josh Frydenberg, announced the winning students from St from St Virgil’s College in Hobart, Tasmania, and Secret Harbour Primary School near Perth, West Australia named the new $1.9 billion vessel RSV Nuyina, meaning ‘aurora australis’ in Palawa Kani, the language of Tasmanian Aborigines.
In a statement, the minister said there were close to 800 entries from primary and secondary students from around Australia, many of which were inspired by the aurora australis.
The new ship carries on a tradition of naming Australian Antarctic ships after the atmospheric phenomenon. The currently-serving icebreaker is named the RSV Aurora Australis, and the first vessel used for an Australian-led Antarctic expedition was Sir Douglas Mawson’s SY Aurora.
The 12 winners will be flown to Antarctica in November.
Meanwhile, the vessel’s keel was laid last month at Damen’s shipyard in Galati, Romania.
During the keel-laying ceremony, Australian Antarctic Division director Dr Nick Gales welded a 50-cent coin with Australia’s coat of arms onto the keel.
“This marks the first major milestone in the construction of the 160 metre ship that will carry scientists and supplies to Antarctica for decades to come,” he said.
“According to maritime tradition, attaching coins to the keel brings fair winds, speed and good luck.”
Coins from Romania, Holland and Denmark were also welded onto the keel, in recognition of those countries’ contribution to the design and construction of the vessel.
RSV Nuyina is being built by Dutch shipbuilders Damen and Danish firm KNUD E. HANSEN executed the concept and tender designs.