Crew to Attempt to Refloat Aurora Australis

Image Courtesy: Australian Antarctic DivisionImage Courtesy: Australian Antarctic Division

P&O Maritime crew will try today to move the grounded icebreaker Aurora Australis off the rocks at West Arm in Horseshoe Harbour using the ship’s ballast system and work boats, according to the latest update from the Australian Antarctic Division.

The decision to attempt to refloat the ship was made as weather conditions have finally eased following a two-day blizzard.

The refloating process is expected to begin at 9:00pm AEDT (3:00pm Mawson time) and will take several hours.

P&O Maritime has advised that when the Aurora Australis is refloated, it will be taken out of Horseshoe Harbour to a sheltered area close by for an initial assessment of any damage and to ensure no fuel leakage is occurring. The ship will remain in the vicinity of Mawson research station while a full assessment is carried out, a minimum of three days.

As informed, thirty-seven expeditioners on board the grounded icebreaker Aurora Australis have been successfully transferred by barge to Mawson station.

The barge transported up to 15 expeditioners on each trip. The expeditioners arrived at the Mawson station wharf, and were then taken by a Hagglunds snow vehicle to the station.

Monitoring by the ship’s crew of a breach in the hull, into a space that is usually flooded with ballast water, is continuing. This breach continues to pose no risk to the stability of the vessel or of fuel leaking into the environment. The crew are monitoring the ship’s fuel levels and the marine environment, with no evidence of any fuel spill to date.

The Aurora Australis broke its mooring lines on Wednesday (24 February) during a blizzard.

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