STX has won a €116m ($173.3m) contract to build a research vessel for South Africa.

The company will construct the 134m-long icebreaker at STX Finland’s Rauma yard in south-west Finland.

Construction work has been scheduled for September 2010 with completion set for 2012.

The vessel will replace the country’s aging SA Agulhas, and will be able to accommodate nearly 45 crew and 100 passengers.

It will have a landing area for two Puma-class helicopters, features laboratories, a gym, a library and a small hospital.

Scientists for the South African National Antarctic Programme will conduct research on the ship, which will serve three remote stations such as Marion Island, Gough Island and a South African National Antarctic Expedition base in Antarctica.