Defense Media Network

Damen Building Australian Icebreaker

Antarctic Supply and Research Vessel to support Australian Antarctic research



The Australian government and DMS Maritime signed a contract April 28, 2016, at a ceremony in Hobart, Tasmania, for the delivery, operation, and maintenance of an Antarctic Supply Research Vessel (ASRV) with ice breaking capabilities, according to a Damen Shipyards Group release. DMS Maritime is a wholly owned subsidiary of Serco. Damen Shipyards Group will build the vessel, intended to become an integral part of the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) program in the coming years.


Artist’s rendering of the future Australian icebreaker in an ice field. Damen Shipyards image

“Damen is a leading international shipyards group with a strong international presence,” Serco CEO Asia Pacific Mark Irwin said in explaining the decision to subcontract the building of the ship to Damen Shipyards. “As well as building a broad portfolio of standardized 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.”

Denmark-based KNUD E. HANSEN executed the concept and tender designs, engineering, and project management is being delivered by Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) in Vlissingen, the Netherlands, and construction and outfitting of the vessel will be carried out at Damen Shipyards Galati, Romania.


Imagery of the future ASRV unloading cargo on the ice. Damen Shipyards image

“Drawing on the diverse skills found across our organization, we are able to connect up all the dots in order to deliver a cohesive, full scope project execution,” said Damen Sales Director Asia Pacific Roland Briene. “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 will be 156 meters long, with a beam of 25.6 meters, and will be capable of breaking ice up to 1.65 meters thick at 3 knots, and will supply Australia’s permanent research stations in Antarctica and Macquarie Island with cargo, equipment, and personnel. The vessel will also serve to conduct research activities, with 500 square meters of onboard laboratory and office facilities. Up to 32 DMS Maritime crew and as many as 116 AAD scientific personnel, as well as a doctor, can be accommodated aboard.

After completion at Damen’s yard in Galati, the ASRV will sail to DSNS in the Netherlands for an April 2020 handover to the client.