‘Gobsmacking’ revelations over new Antarctic vessel
REVELATIONS that Australia's new $1.9bn icebreaker may not be able to pass under the Tasman Bridge in order to refuel at Hobart's major maritime terminal have been labelled as "gobsmacking" by a state MP.
As reported by the Sunday Tasmanian, there are questions about whether the RSV Nuyina - more than 1.5 times the size of the now decommissioned Aurora Australis - will be able to transit underneath the bridge.
TasPorts and the Australian Antarctic Division confirmed "risk management" and "vessel simulations" were underway, and one option being considered is the vessel travelling to Burnie port to refuel - a return trip of about 1200km.
Labor Franklin MP David O'Byrne said Hobart was the home of the Australian Antarctic program and there were already infrastructure and logistic challenges at the Hobart port.
"If it's true they haven't taken into account the size of the Tasman Bridge and their ability to get the vessel underneath, well that is gobsmacking, that is just remarkable and hopefully they can resolve that quickly," he said.
Hobart Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said it would be disappointing if the Nuyina was not able to pass underneath the bridge.
"My understanding is there are a number of ships that do have to be very careful as they go through, because it's very tight," she said.
"So it's not just this ship and in some ways it's a problem with large ships and where our refuelling tanks are."
Melanie Van Twest, the secretary of the Aurora Australis Foundation which was established to try to save the beloved icebreaker from leaving Australian waters after its decommissioning, said the potential problem with the new ship was unfortunate.
"The Aurora Australis Foundation completely supports the Antarctic Division to have a new ship and to update Australia's shipping capability," she said.
"If it is true that there is a problem with the new ship, then that's really unfortunate and we would be very hopeful that a solution can be found that Australian Antarctic shipping plans can go ahead as intended."
Originally published as 'Gobsmacking' revelations over new Antarctic vessel