News National Icebreaker Aurora Australis runs aground

Icebreaker Aurora Australis runs aground

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Australia’s icebreaker Aurora Australis has run aground near Mawson Station while on a mission to resupply the Antarctic outpost.

The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) confirmed the ship had broken free of its mooring lines on Wednesday afternoon during a blizzard.

AAD officials said there were a total of 67 expeditioners and crew on board at the time of the incident but none were injured.

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AAD/Justin Chambers/ABC
Icebreaker was docked near Mawson Station for resupply when it ran aground after its mooring lines broke in a blizzard. Photo: AAD/Justin Chambers/ABC

The ship is believed to be watertight but blizzard conditions are hampering a full assessment of the damage to the ship’s hull.

The AAD said winds of up to 130kph were recorded just before the ship broke its lines.

Forecasters said blizzard conditions were expected to continue for the next 24 hours.

The ship left Hobart on January 11 and had been involved in marine science efforts in Antarctic waters and arrived at Mawson Station for resupply last weekend.

Aurora Australis is owned by P&O Maritime Services but is chartered by the AAD for research missions to Antarctica.

The ship, which came into service in 1989, is due to be replaced by a new $500 million icebreaker in 2019.

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