World famous research vessel docks in Hobart

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for State Development, Trade and the Antarctic

One of the world’s most advanced polar research vessels, the RV Polarstern, has arrived on its maiden visit to Tasmania.

Premier and Minister for State Development, Trade and the Antarctic, Jeremy Rockliff, welcomed the arrival of the famous German icebreaker to the Port of Hobart which it will call home for the next week.

“The RV Polarstern is well-known in Arctic and Antarctic research circles for its advanced technology and groundbreaking research achievements,” Premier Rockliff said.

“This is the first time the vessel has visited a Tasmanian port, demonstrating the Tasmanian Liberal Government’s long-term plan to strengthen the State’s reputation as a key international Antarctic gateway and hub of excellence is working.

“The visit of the RV Polarstern will facilitate scientific exchange with University of Tasmania and other Tasmanian-based polar research and science organisations.

“It will also inject up to $2 million into our economy, with crew enjoying Tasmanian eateries, business and everything our port cities have to offer.”

Originally commissioned in 1982 and overhauled from 1999 to 2001, the RV Polarstern is operated by the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research and is capable of breaking ice 1.5 metres thick at a speed of 5 knots.

The 118m long vessel operates in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions on average 305 days each year.

Mr Rockliff said the visit was one of a number of international research and resupply vessels visiting Hobart this summer.

“The Antarctic and Southern Ocean sector contributes more than $183 million each year to the Tasmanian economy and directly employs nearly 1000 people,” Premier Rockliff said.

“In addition to the Port of Hobart’s regular Antarctic vessels RSV Nuyina (Australia), RV Investigator (Australia) and FNS L’Astrolabe (France), a further five international icebreakers/research vessels are scheduled to visit during the 2023-24 Antarctic season.”

A special exhibition and public engagement activities will be held by Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research at the Waterside Pavilion at Mawson’s Place on Saturday 3 February and Sunday 4 February.

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