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Environmental credentials

It’s not easy being green, but Nuyina has a range of environmental features to help it ‘sail lightly’ on the Southern Ocean.

Big and beautiful

Nuyina is a big ship but that doesn’t mean its environmental footprint has to be big too.

The ship complies with mandatory strict Antarctic environmental regulations, as well as more than 12 voluntary ones. These optional Lloyds Register ‘ECO notation’ pollution controls include additional requirements for dealing with such things as ballast water, grey water, refrigeration systems, exhaust emissions, and the ship’s energy efficiency management.

For example, the ship has two sewage treatment plants for grey and black water from the ship’s showers, toilets and kitchen. For biosecurity, ballast water is treated in its own plant, before it’s used in the ship, and again before disposal. The ship also has an oily water separator that removes three times as much oil as a standard ship’s plant.

What a load of rubbish

Garbage management on a ship designed for 90 day voyages and up to 150 people is also a complex issue. Wheelie bins from the kitchen and around the vessel are managed in a waste handling area on deck 3. Here, waste is sorted and directed to an incinerator, a glass shredder, or a cardboard compactor.

The incinerator can burn oil coming from waste oil and the oily water separator, and generates the high temperatures required to cleanly dispose of combustible waste.

Fuel efficiency

While Nuyina is bigger than its predecessor Aurora Australis, it has greater fuel efficiency overall. The hull of the vessel is long and thin to improve fuel efficiency during Southern Ocean transits. It can resupply two stations in a single voyage, eliminating the need to return to Australia between resupply voyages.

Nuyina uses less fuel per cargo container than Aurora Australis as it carries three times more cargo in its holds. It provides more ‘bang for the science buck’, with its ability to collect and analyse more underway data and samples.

Other environment-related measures on the ship include:

  • A fuel spill recovery capability, with booms that can encircle the ship or protect high environmental value areas if there is a fuel spill.
  • Special heli-deck drains that can capture fuel that may be spilt.
  • Laboratory sinks and aquaria waste outlets that can be directed to holding tanks for quarantine purposes.
  • Two boilers for waste heat energy recovery from the exhaust gas lines.
  • Low level external lighting to minimise bird strike.
  • Complying with Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009.
Two blue coloured sewage treatment plants on the ship.
Separate grey and black water systems are directed to one of two sewage treatment plants onboard. Photo: Michiel Jordaan
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