Australia to carry on with Antarctic research on new ship billion dollar ship project

A new, multi-million dollar icebreaker ship will cement Australia as the world's major gateway to Antarctica, the government has said, after it signed a 1.4 billion U.S dollars deal to secure the future of its Antarctic research program on Thursday.

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Chinese commandos land on a "trade ship" from a helicopter as they take part in a joint escort exercise during Chinese and Malaysian first joint military drill, coded "Peace and Friendship 2015", in the Malacca Strait, Sept. 19, 2015. (Xinhua/Jiang Long) (zw)
Chinese commandos land on a "trade ship" from a helicopter as they take part in a joint escort exercise during Chinese and Malaysian first joint military drill, coded "Peace and Friendship 2015", in the Malacca Strait, Sept. 19, 2015. (Xinhua/Jiang Long) (zw)

The ship, which will be ready to commence operations in the Antarctic Ocean by 2020, will cost the government 400 million U.S dollars, while ongoing maintenance and running costs make up the project’s additional billion dollar outlay.

Chinese commandos land on a "trade ship" from a helicopter as they take part in a joint escort exercise during Chinese and Malaysian first joint military drill, coded "Peace and Friendship 2015", in the Malacca Strait, Sept. 19, 2015. (Xinhua/Jiang Long) (zw)
 ship (Xinhua/Jiang Long) (zw)

According to federal environment minister Greg Hunt, around 80 percent of the funds would be spent in Australia, with most of that to be undertaken in the southern state of Tasmania.

The ship itself will be built in Romania after no local shipbuilding firm put its hand up to build the icebreaker.

Hunt said it was the government’s “single biggest investment” in the Antarctic research program, and would create jobs and substantial economic growth.

“The new icebreaker will help to further expand Tasmania’s role as the gateway to Antarctica, and is great news for jobs and growth in the state,” Hunt said in a statement released on Thursday.

“The Turnbull government’s commitment to a new icebreaker is the single biggest investment in the history of the Australian Antarctic program. It will support operations and science and ensure Australia is the scientific partner of choice in East Antarctica.”

Hunt added that the new icebreaker ship would lead to Australia having one of the world’s best scientific programs in the Antarctic region.

“A modern icebreaker is essential for the resupply of Australia’s Antarctic research stations and to lead a world-class science program,” Hunt said.

“The state-of-the-art icebreaker will be uniquely tailored to meet Australia’s needs, and will be faster, larger, stronger than the Australian Antarctic program’s current icebreaker, Aurora Australis. It also offers increased endurance and icebreaking capability.”

Source; Xinhua

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