AUSTRALIA’S newest icebreaker RSV Nuyina has survived its first bingle.

But rather than some giant ice flow in the Weddell Sea, it was a bank of the River Danube in Rumania on which the vessel recently had what authorities described as an “underwater scrape”.

Australian Antarctic Division general manager assets and infrastructure, Rob Bryson, said the vessel is built to break ice 1.65 metres thick and its bow had an unexpected test in the Danube River.

“The ship made contact with the riverbank while being steered away from an uncharted pontoon,” Mr Bryson said.

“Visual inspections showed only superficial damage and after an hour delay, Nuyina continued to the Black Sea and then to the city of Constanta.

“This is a 16,300 tonne icebreaker, with a reinforced steel hull designed to crack through sea-ice so while this is the ship’s first scrape it certainly won’t be its last.”

More footage is available here.

Maritime experts who contacted Daily Cargo News said the vessel could have done with a second tugboat.

A spokesperson for the AAD said the ship is now in the Aegean Sea to the south of Greece on its way to the Netherlands.

The RSV Nuyina is being towed 6,800 kilometres through the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar to reach the Netherlands by the end of this month.

A single 50 metre tug boat is towing the vessel on the ocean passages, and up to three tugs are to be used through some of the narrower canals.

Because the icebreaker hasn’t undergone sea trials, it doesn’t have the regulatory certificates to conduct international voyages under its own power.

It is expected the RSV Nuyina will arrive in Hobart in the middle of 2021.

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