Supply chain issues interfere with Nuyina’s Antarctic expedition schedule
MATERIAL shortages and supply chain issues have delayed the delivery of spare parts for the RSV icebreaker Nuyina. It is unlikely that the ship will be in service for the next Antarctic season.
The Australian research vessel arrived in Singapore for scheduled maintenance in April this year and was due to return to its home port of Hobart in October.
However, due to the delay in receiving spare parts, the Australian Antarctic Division decided to adjust by Nuyina shipping plans.
The AAD said it was working with the ship’s operator Serco to resolve the issues and make repairs as part of the normal commissioning process during the warranty period.
AAD director Kim Ellis said the work included improvements to the hydraulic control system in the propulsion system clutches, where a problem has been identified.
“While work is progressing well on the clutches, an unexpected problem has been discovered in the large couplings that connect the drive shafts to the clutches,” Mr. Ellis said.
“Following initial investigations and testing, the manufacturer determined that the shaft couplings required replacement.
“Delivery times for replacement couplings are long, largely due to material shortages and supply chain issues. »
AAD’s shipping manager, Nick Browne, said RCD spare parts are made by the original equipment manufacturer in Sweden.
“They will be airlifted from Sweden to the ship in Singapore for installation,” he said.
“Based on the information currently available to us, the estimated delivery time for these spare parts is approximately 18 weeks.
“Estimated times include material sourcing, production time and delivery to vessel, and are subject to change.”
The resulting delay of several months means Nuyina is unlikely to be available for resupply and science operations during the 2022-23 Antarctic season.
Nuyina undertook its first two voyages to Antarctica earlier this year, resupplying research stations and testing the ship’s science systems.
But in the coming season, two additional ships will carry essential cargo and bring expeditionaries home.
Mr. Ellis said icebreaker Aiviq and ice-reinforced cargo Good Dynamics were secured for the task.
“The changeover dates for the 90 expeditionaries currently living and working at Australia’s four Antarctic research stations and Macquarie Island will remain roughly the same,” said Mr Ellis.
He said Aiviq was chartered to refuel and restock AAL stations last season and remains in Hobart for the coming season.
“Disruption and contingency planning is an important part of Australia’s Antarctic programme, and we had always planned for this eventuality during the commissioning and warranty phase of Nuyina.”
Chief Scientist Professor Nicole Webster said the AAD was looking at the changes and the implications for science projects.
“Science remains at the heart of Australia’s Antarctic program and we will work closely with options research teams to support their summer science projects,” said Ms Webster.
The vessel’s commissioning and testing phase is expected to continue for at least the first two years of its service, while it is under warranty with shipbuilder Damen.