How Sam Richardson went from a tray in Coffin Bay to a job aboard the RSV Nuyina
Sam Richardson first discovered the ocean when he was 10, exploring the sheltered waters of South Australia’s Coffin Bay estuary, roaming the bays in a tinny his father gave him.
- RSV Nuyina is the Australian research and freight vessel to service Antarctica
- It has a capacity of four helicopters, six smaller ships, 32 crew members and 117 scientists
- Former Coffin Bay resident Sam Richardson is one of the crew members who take the ship from the Netherlands to Hobart
Next week, she will dock in Hobart aboard the world’s first polar research vessel, RSV Nuyina, the replacement Australian icebreaker for the iconic Antarctic explorer Aurora Australis, which was decommissioned last year.
The RSV Nuyina was built at shipyards in Romania and the Netherlands for the Antarctic division of the Australian government.
The word “nuyina” means southern aurora in Palawa Kani, the language of the Aborigines of Tasmania.
“Swiss Army Knife of Ships”
Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the Nuyina was an important milestone for climate research and the study of Antarctic and marine ecosystems.
The Australian government is investing $ 1.9 billion in the ship, to cover its design and construction as well as operation and maintenance over an expected life of 30 years.
Mr. Richardson, who grew up in Coffin Bay on the Eyre Peninsula, landed a job on the ship after 10 years in the offshore oil and gas industry in Australia and overseas.
His job aboard the Nuyina as an integrated seaman involves performing maintenance and surveillance duties on deck and in the engine room, as well as cargo operations involving landing craft, ships and helicopters.
RSV Nuyina carries four helicopters, six smaller vessels and 96 20-foot containers.
The ship will be the main lifeline for Australian Antarctic and Subantarctic research stations.
Its research equipment makes it the most advanced polar research vessel in the world.
There is also an ice floe ramp that exits the ship to deploy quads or for scientists to walk on the ice floe.
“It was designed to operate in the roughest oceans efficiently but powerful enough to break ice up to six feet thick,” said Richardson.
“The 160.3-meter vessel can also be incredibly quiet as a submarine to perform science operations with little to no noise nuisance.”
It can carry cargo, 32 crew members and 117 scientists for 90 days.
Mr Richardson, who was inspired by his father’s fishing career, said it was his dream job.
“I loved going on an adventure across the bay and have always listened to his stories about the early days of tuna fishing and all his otherworldly adventures on the ocean,” did he declare.
“I’ve also always been aware of the Aurora Australis, the ship before this one and I often used to think how cool it would be to work on it.”
Mr Richardson joined RSV Nuyina in August during their last adjustment in the Netherlands.
She is part of a 37-person crew making the 24,000 kilometer journey to her home port of Hobart.
“It makes me incredibly proud to be a part of RSV Nuyina, as other ships before this one have been so dearly remembered and loved in Australian Antarctic history,” said Mr. Richardson.
Mr. Richardson is enthusiastic about the research elements of the vessel.
“We will be working with a range of different scientists and will do everything from coring sediment on the ocean floor, to trawling for krill and other marine life, to monitoring sea ice.”
Gateway to the ocean
Trawling can be done in conjunction with a range of sonar and multibeam echosounders to target species at different depths.
“We have a lunar pool, which is basically a large opening amidships that can deploy a conductivity, temperature and depth (CTD) rosette that can capture water samples in 36 different 12-liter bottles throughout. the water column.
“Scientists can then measure the speed at which sound can pass through the water at different depths to calibrate the different transducers on the drop pins to perform acoustic mapping of the seabed and measure biomass throughout the water column. .
“The lunar pool is also very useful for deploying rc vehicles, and the good thing is that anything can be done while the ship is surrounded by ice, so it acts as the gateway to the ocean. under the ice.
“The ship is powered by a hybrid diesel / electric propulsion system and the machinery in the engine room, from the smallest pumps to the diesel generators that power the advanced electric drives, are all mounted on rubber mounts, on a chassis, which is then rubber mounted to the vessel.
Mr. Richardson is eager to head south.
“My first expectation is that it will be much colder than where I have worked for the past 10 years in northern Australia and Asia,” he said.
“I expect to be blown away by the beauty of Antarctica and I am really excited to see my first albatross on my way south.”