New Antarctic barges tested on River Derwent

Barge baptism

Video transcript

The workhorses of the Antarctic are getting wet for the first time.

Australian Antarctic Division, Maritime Systems Officer, Clive Evans; “It’s very exciting to see these designs that we’ve seen on paper, years ago, to actually finally be on the water and performing as we hoped they would do.”

The two aluminium barges are undergoing sea trials on the River Derwent.

Speed, propulsion, manoeuvrability and strength of the vessels are being tested.

Taylor Bros, Director, Phil Taylor; “All up they can weigh close to 80 tonnes, fully loaded, and they’ll still do eight knots. So that’s a fair challenge for something that is only 16 metres long.”

The barges will work alongside Australia’s new icebreaker RSV Nuyina.

They will carry vehicles and cargo from ship to shore at Australia’s Antarctic stations.

The barges have been built in Hobart by a team of 12 over the past 18 months.

Taylor Bros, Director, Phil Taylor; “We’ve got a team of naval architects here and we’ve got aluminium fabricators, we’ve got designers and engineers that have been in the shipping game for many years. There’s been a lot of input from a lot of parties.”

Down south they will have to withstand extreme conditions of minus 30 degrees Celsius and 50 knot winds.

Taylor Bros, Director, Phil Taylor; “I guess for the next 30 years, they’ll get flogged to death!”

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