Construction of Australia’s Antarctic supply research vessel (ASRV) has taken an important step forward with an official keel laying ceremony. Following the long-established maritime tradition of placing a coin under the vessel’s keel, the ceremony was carried out by Dr Nick Gales, Director of the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD).
The keel laying of the ASRV took place at Damen Shipyards Galati, Romania. Placing a coin under the keel of a ship at the start of construction is a traditional part of the shipbuilding process.
In the case of the ASRV, the choice of one particular coin was symbolic; it was a Dutch silver coin dated 1642, the year that Dutch explorer Abel Tasman become the first European to reach Tasmania.
The ice-breaking ASRV is a multi-mission vessel that has been designed to undertake a variety of roles. In terms of supply, the 160-metre long vessel will provide Australia’s three permanent research stations on the Antarctic continent and its research station on Macquarie Island with cargo, equipment and personnel. This will be facilitated by the ability to stow more than 100 TEU.
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