Development of a European Research Icebreaker with Drilling Capability

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Biebow, N. , Thiede, J. , Kunz-Pirrung, M. and Lembke-Jene, L. (2007): Development of a European Research Icebreaker with Drilling Capability , 2. International Georg von Neumayer Symposium, 20. 23. September, Bad Dürkheim. .
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AURORA BOREALIS Development of a European Research Icebreaker with Drilling CapabilityPolar research both on land and in the sea cannot achieve the needed progress without novel and state of the art technologies and infrastructure. In addition we have the obligation to equip the upcoming young and courageous generation of polar researchers with the most modern and safest research platforms the 21st century can provide. This effort will require major investments, both in terms of generating new tools, as well as maintaining/renovating existing infrastructure. There are many different novel tools presently being developed for polar research to be addressed, but in the following we will concentrate on the presently largest one, namely the planning for a new research icebreaker the AURORA BOREALIS, with an all season capability of endurance in permanently ice-covered waters and with the possibility to carry out deep-sea drilling in ice-covered deep-sea basins.AURORA BOREALIS will be the most advanced Polar Research Vessel in the world with a multi-functional role of drilling in deep ocean basins and supporting climate/environmental research and decision support for stakeholder governments for the next 35-40 years. The vessel will be a powerful research icebreaker with 44,000 tons displacement and a length of 196 m, with 50 Megawatt azimuth propulsion systems. The new technological features will include azimuth propulsion systems, satellite navigation and ice-management support and the deployment and operation of Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) from the twin moon-pools. The most unique feature of the vessel is the deep drilling rig, which will enable sampling of the ocean floor and sub-sea up to 5000 m water and 1000 m penetration at the most inhospitable places on earth. The possibility to flexibly equip the ship with laboratory and supply containers, and the variable arrangement of other modular infrastructure (in particular, winches, cranes, etc.), free deck-space and separate protected deck areas, will allow the planned research vessel to cover the needs of most disciplines in marine research.

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