Australian research vessel’s size causes problems in port

Australian icebreaking research vessel Nuyina (IMO 9797060) appears to have been constructed to larger dimensions than had been intended. As a result it is unable to turn safely and pass underneath Hobart’s Tasman Bridge, in order for it to take on fuel on the other side, claims a report in Guardian Australia.

The vessel was reported to have been denied permission to pass under the bridge due to safety concerns.

The A$528m (US$339m) ship will now have to refuel at an alternative location, which is hundreds of kilometres away.

Guardian Australia said that the Nuyina, which is responsible for resupplying Australia’s three Antarctic stations and carrying out climate research in the Southern Ocean, was currently berthed at Hobart’s Macquarie Wharf, south of the Tasman Bridge with its intended refuelling station at Selfs Point just upstream on the other side of the bridge.

The report stated that the design width of the 160-metre-length vessel was 25.6 metres when it was delivered. However, its currently width was put at 35.1 m. The Nuyina was built by Damen in its Galati shipyard in Romania in 2018.

The Guardian Australia report stated that, while the ship could pass under the Tasman Bridge from the southern side, it could not travel back safely due to the ship needing to complete a turn on the approach to the bridge, before passing through the concrete beams. Given the size of the ship, there was almost no room for error as it could drift and side slip while conducting a turn.

Tasmania’s harbour master, Mick Wall, said that the vessel’s “windage area” was too large, which meant that strong winds could push it off course.

2021-built, Australia-flagged, 22,862 gt Nuyina is owned and managed by Australia Govt Climate Change of Canberra, Australia. ISM manager is DMS Maritime Pty Ltd. It is entered with Shipowners’ Club on behalf of DMS Maritime Pty Ltd. As of August 24th the vessel was en route from Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, to Casey Station, one of three permanent stations and research outposts in Antarctica managed by the Australian Antarctic Division, ETA August 31st.