by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) Feb 24, 2016
Australia's flagship icebreaker Aurora Australis has broken its mooring in a blizzard and run aground in Antarctica, leaving 67 expeditioners and crew stranded Thursday.
The Australian Antarctic Division said the incident happened on Wednesday when the ship was on a resupply mission to the Mawson Station, with freezing winds of more than 130 kph (80 mph) whipping the base.
"A total of 67 expeditioners and crew are on board, and all are safe and well," it said, adding that the icebreaker ran aground at West Arm in Horseshoe Harbour.
"The ship remains watertight, with no damage to the hull of the vessel.
"Current blizzard conditions are hampering a full assessment of the damage, and the crew are closely monitoring the hull from inside the ship."
Australia has four stations in the Antarctic wilderness and Aurora Australis routinely travels from the Australian city of Hobart on scientific and resupply voyages.
The ship, which is owned by P&O Maritime Services, left Hobart on January 11 on its latest mission, undertaking marine science work around the Kerguelen Plateau region before arriving at Mawson last Saturday.
Beyond the Ice Age
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