The Australian Government has selected DMS Maritime, a wholly owned subsidiary of Serco Australia, as the preferred bidder to build a new research and supply icebreaker vessel for the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) of the Department of the Environment.
Under the proposed deal, DMS Maritime’s subcontractor Romania-based Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding will design and build the icebreaker vessel.
Upon its delivery, DMS Maritime will operate and maintain the vessel in support of the Australian Antarctic programme on a long-term basis.
The 156m-long icebreaker is expected to serve Australia’s three permanent research stations within its Antarctic territory, as well as its research station on Macquarie Island.
The icebreaker will replace the Aurora Australis and supply Antarctic research stations with cargo, equipment and personnel.
Additionally, it will be used as a research ship with laboratory facilities on board.
The vessel will have the capacity to accommodate 34 DMS Maritime crew, 116 AAD scientific personnel in addition to four helicopters, two landing craft and a science tender.
The deal is expected to conclude in early 2016.
Serco Asia Pacific CEO Mark Irwin said: "We are delighted that Serco will be playing a vital role in supporting Australian and global Antarctic scientific programmes through the provision of experienced ice-qualified crews, maintenance engineers and our extensive services in vessel management.
"These operations will significantly expand Serco’s existing presence in Tasmania, and will further strengthen our substantial expertise in project management and end-to-end vessel support to the marine industry."
Image: The new Antarctic Icebreaker. Photo: © Damen / DMS Maritime / Knud E Hansen A/S Courtesy Australian Antarctic Division.