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Aurora Australis en route to Singapore for repairs following stranding

by April 1, 2016 General

The Antarctic icebreaker Aurora Australis is en route to Singapore for repairs after its hull was damaged during a blizzard in February.

P&O operations manager Shaun Deshomme said the ship was inspected at Fremantle before being cleared to sail for Singapore.

“[The] Singapore destination being selected for repairs being more cost effective than in Australia,” said Mr Deshomme.

The ship is owned by P&O Maritime Services, which leases it to the Australian Antarctic Division.

On a supply trip to Macquarie Island in the Southern Ocean, the ship was pushed onto rocks during a storm, stranding 68 expeditioners and crew and causing damage to the hull on the starboard side.

Winds of about 130 kilometres per hour were recorded at the time the Aurora Australis ran aground. The people on board were later flown home to Australia.

Mr Deshomme said the damage was not severe, but that works needed to be done to reinstate the hull to its original condition.

The vessel is due to arrive in Singapore on Monday.

The repairs are expected to take 10 to 14 days, after which Aurora Australis will return to its home port of Hobart to prepare for expeditions in the 2016/2017 Antarctic summer.

The Aurora Australis is into its final years as an icebreaker for Antarctic research. After 26 years of service, the ship is due to be replaced in 2019.