STX Finland Oy and the South African Department of Environmental Affairs have signed a contract for the construction of a polar supply and research vessel. The contract has a value of approximately EUR 116 million and will bring some 600 man-years of work. The ship will be build in the Rauma shipyard and it will be delivered in spring 2012.

The ship will function as a multi-purpose vessel, serving, among other things, as a supply vessel, research vessel, icebreaker, expedition vessel, as well as a passenger ship.

The ice-strengthened ship will be approximately 134 metres long and it will have accommodations for a crewof 45 and some 100 researchers or passengers. It will be used to carry scientists and research equipment for the South African National Antarctic Program in the sea area between South Africa, the Antarctic islands and Antarctica. The ship will be able to spend several months out at sea and it will also act as a mobile laboratory. Scientists can conduct various marine research onboard.

Furthermore, the vessel will keep continuous records of weather data for meteorological institutions around the world. It has a sheltered landing area for two Puma class helicopters and it will feature laboratories, a gym, a library, and a small hospital.