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Ship built to wrong dimensions causes consternation Down Under

Ship built to wrong dimensions causes consternation Down Under
Bojan Lepic August 25, 2023

Australia’s icebreaking research vessel RSV Nuyina is much wider than its intended design and is not able to safely turn and pass underneath Hobart’s Tasman Bridge and take on fuel on the other side.

Reports from Guardian Australia claim that the vessel was denied permission to pass under the bridge due to safety concerns.

The A$528m ($339m) ship will now have to refuel at an alternate location, hundreds of kilometres away vastly increasing costs and creating more emissions along the way.

The Guardian said that the RSV Nuyina, in charge of resupplying Australia’s three Antarctic stations and carrying out climate research in the Southern Ocean, is 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 design width of the vessel was 25.6 m when it was delivered. It currently stands at 35.1 m, a considerable increase. The 160-meter icebreaker was built by Damen in its Galati shipyard in Romania in 2018.

According to The Guardian, the ship could pass under the Tasman Bridge from the southern side but could not safely travel back 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 is almost no room for error as it could drift and side slip while conducting a turn.

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

The Guardian highlighted an incident from 1975 where 12 people died when a cargo ship crashed into the same bridge causing part of it to collapse.