The paper discusses the development of the AURORA BOREALIS, a new European Polar Research and Scientific Drilling Vessel with dynamical positioning capability in drifting ice. The Vessel will be designed as a heavy icebreaker with the highest polar ice class. She will be powered to break continuously multiyear ice of more than 2.5m thickness and she will be able to manage ice ridges up to 15m height and more. She shall perform research tasks including scientific drilling missions all-year-round in the Arctic and in Antarctica without any other assisting support vessels. One of the key issues in the required performance specification for the vessel is the mandatory performance of autonomous station keeping operations in drifting level ice of more than 2.0m thickness during drilling and other research tasks.

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