THE Australian Antarctic Division’s new-build Antarctic icebreaker, RSV Nuyina, is due to arrive at Hobart in October.

RSV Nuyina is currently at a shipyard in the Netherlands undergoing repairs to its advanced friction clutches, a key component of the propulsion system.

The clutch issue was identified late last year but did not interfere with the ship’s first two rounds of sea trials in the North Sea.

The continuing impacts of COVID-19 on the supply chain caused delays in getting the specialised components manufactured and installed in the ship.

Once these repairs are complete, the vessel will undertake another round of sea trials, complete an acceptance process and then start the eight-week delivery voyage to Hobart.

The vessel will then undertake its first voyage south in support of the Australian Antarctic Program during the 2021-22 summer season.

Construction of the new ship began in May 2017 at Damen Shipyards in Romania. It was floated in September 2018, and in July last year it was 98% complete, but final harbour testing and sea and ice trials were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

RSV Nuyina is replacing the beloved Aurora Australis, which ended its long tenure as Australia’s Antarctic resupply vessel in late 2020.

The Australian Antarctic Division chartered a temporary resupply vessel for the 2020-21 season. This vessel, MPV Everest, was plagued by problems during the season. Notably, the vessel suffered a significant engine-room fire in early April shortly after resupplying Davis and Mawson stations in Antarctica. There were no injuries from the incident.