Icebreaking polar class research vessels: New Antarctic fleet capabilities

Supporting Antarctic scientific investigation is the job of the national Antarctic programmes, the government entities charged with delivering their countries’ Antarctic research strategies. This requires sustained investment in people, innovative technologies, Antarctic infrastructures, and vessels with icebreaking capabilities. The recent endorsement of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Polar Code (2015) means that countries must address challenges related to an ageing icebreaking vessel fleet. Many countries have recently invested in and begun, or completed, builds on new icebreaking Polar research vessels. These vessels incorporate innovative technologies to increase fuel efficiency, to reduce noise output, and to address ways to protect the Antarctic environment in their design. This paper is a result of a Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP) project on new vessel builds which began in 2018. It considers the recent vessel builds of Australia’s RSV Nuyina, China’s MV Xue Long 2, France’s L’Astrolabe, Norway’s RV Kronprins Haakon, Peru’s BAP Carrasco, and the United Kingdom’s RRS Sir David Attenborough. The paper provides examples of purposeful consideration of science support requirements and environmental sustainability in vessel designs and operations.


Publication status:
Authors: Rogan-Finnemore, Michelle, Ojeda, Miguel, Acosta, Jorge Manuel Paz, Bretel, Patrice, Browne, Nick, Flått, Stig, Wang, Shuoren, Sliester, Randolph

On this site: Randolph Sliester
29 November, 2021
Polar Record / 57
Link to published article: