Aurora Australia

Learning About Aurora Australia

The Aurora Australis took its name from that renowned atmospheric phenomenon of the southern hemisphere with the same name.

The ship serves as the flagship for the Australia Antarctica project.

The ship was designed and constructed by Carrington Slipways and commissioned in September 1989. Weighing almost 4,000 tonnes and at a length of 95 meters, the ship can move at as much as 13 knots cruising speed. It is operated and managed by P&O Poplar.

The Aurora Australis was designed to serve multiple purposes in the course of the Antarctica project. For one, it is to be used for research purposes. It is used to carry out studies on the oceanography of the Antarctica region and undertake hydrographic surveys. It is also useful in engaging in fish trawling on a commercial scale in Antarctica and conducting environmental monitoring.

The other major function is supply. The Aurora Australis transports more than 100 special personnel to and fro the stations. It is also used to carry cargo, supply fuel and can support mid-size helicopters with accompanying facilities.


The Aurora Australis is quite a strong ship, properly well-equipped to navigate the Antarctica for which it was designed. For one, the ship is but go break ice which is as much as 1.23 thick.

Often, the various functions of the ship will necessitate it passing through the Southern Ocean. Here, the ocean’s storms can bring about rough and high sea terrains of up to 10 m. The winds can also move at as fast as 150 km/h. The ship is however properly built to navigate all of these. The bright orange colours make it easy to spot inside of ice-infested waters.

The Aurora Australis comes with trawling capabilities, purposely included aiding research works surrounding oceanography and marine science. One interesting fact is that several laboratories in the ship are used for initial scientific research, including metrology and biological experiments.

Also included onboard is a quite large kitchen, stuffed with the right mix of food materials and adequate, safe water supply.

A big issue surrounding life on water generally, but especially in big seas and oceans, is access to communication with the outside world while onboard. This becomes more of an issue in the Antarctica region. However, the ship is equipped with satellite communication that enables people to contact anywhere by phone at all times.  Then, expeditions can as well reach people through email communication.

The ship comes with comfortable accommodation for the expeditions and crew members on board. Several small cabins are equipped with bunk beds, enough to accommodate up to four people per cabin. The beds can, however, be folded to create ample space for easier and more comfortable movement. There are toilet and bathroom facilities for each of the cabins.

Finally, the ship is not merely functional as recreational facilities are also provided. Expeditions have access to a library stocked with reading materials. There is a gym for the people on board to cater to their physical health and other general sitting areas for social gathering.

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