RESEARCH vessel Nuyina is to remain in Singapore a month longer than expected while a chartered ship sails to Antarctica in its place.

The Australian icebreaker has been in Singapore since April last year, where it has been undergoing scheduled maintenance.

The Australian Antarctic Division announced in July that supply chain issues had delayed the delivery of spare parts, likely putting the ship out of action for the 2022-23 Antarctic season.

According to An AAD spokesperson, Nuyina is now scheduled to return to Australia in April. The adjusted timeframe initially anticipated its return in March.

“Chartered icebreaker MPOV Aiviq will sail to Macquarie Island research station in March to changeover expeditioners and deliver cargo,” the spokesperson said this week.

Aiviq is a 110-metre US icebreaking tug and supply vessel operated by Edison Chouest.

“The Australian Antarctic Division chartered Aiviq and cargo vessel Happy Diamond for the 2022-2023 Antarctic season while RSV Nuyina undergoes scheduled maintenance and repairs in Singapore.

“In July, the AAD announced unexpected issues with Nuyina’s propulsion system clutches and a resulting delay for spare parts would see the vessel unlikely to be used for the upcoming season. 

“While Nuyina was due to return to Australia in March, it is now expected to return in April and as part of contingency planning, Aiviq will undertake the Macquarie Island voyage. 

The AAD spokesperson said Aiviq may also be available for a later voyage to the island as a contingency.

“Like all new and complex ships, Nuyina will require time for commissioning as it prepares to serve Australia’s Antarctic and Southern Ocean science efforts in the decades ahead.”

They said Nuyina will remain under warranty for the duration of maintenance in Singapore.