On April 28 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. The ceremony was attended by Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julia Bishop and Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt.
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 bespoke 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 realisation 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 being delivered by Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) in Vlissingen, the Netherlands. Construction and outfitting of the vessel will be carried out at Damen Shipyards Galati, Romania.
Damen Sales Director Asia Pacific Roland Briene said: “Drawing on the diverse skills found across our organisation, 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.
The ASRV represents a state-of-the-art solution which will facilitate Australia’s wider exploration of the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. The vessel will be 156 metres in length, with a beam of 25.6 metres. She will be able to break ice up 1.65 metres at speeds of 3 knots and will supply Australia’s permanent research stations in Antarctica and Macquarie Island with cargo, equipment and personnel. Designed with 500 m2 on board laboratory and office facilities, the vessel will also serve to conduct research activities. The ASRV will host up to 32 DMS Maritime crew and as many as 116 AAD scientific personnel as well as a doctor, in climate controlled accommodation.
AAD’s 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’s yard in Galati, the ASRV will sail to DSNS in the Netherlands for handover to the client, scheduled for April 2020.