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Australia Antarctic supply ship MPV Everest limps into WA port after fire

15:01  13 april  2021
15:01  13 april  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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The fire is being investigated by the ship's owners and maritime authorities. (Supplied) © Provided by ABC Business The fire is being investigated by the ship's owners and maritime authorities. (Supplied)

Australia's temporary Antarctic resupply vessel has arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia, having changed course last week after a fire broke out on board.

The MPV Everest was about five days into an expected two-week voyage when a fire broke out in the port engine room last Monday, destroying two inflatable rubber boats stored on deck.

None of the 109 people onboard — which includes about 70 expeditioners — were injured.

The icebreaker, which had been in the Southern Ocean when the fire broke out, was able to continue travelling north using its starboard engine room.

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The vessel was originally set to dock in Hobart but was diverted to Fremantle Port which was closer.

The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) scrambled to find a support vessel to send out to the MPV Everest, with the Go Spica only meeting the damaged vessel a day ahead of its arrival in Fremantle.

18-month Antarctic stay comes to an end

It is understood some on board the MPV Everest had been in Antarctica for 18 months, much longer than planned after COVID-19 disrupted travel plans.

It is understood those on board will be involved in a two-hour customs process before attending a welcome home function.

It is not known exactly what will happen to the almost 40 crew members onboard.

In a statement the International Transport Workers' Federation said it feared they might be required to remain on board and undergo quarantine.

The union urged the WA Government and maritime safety agencies to ensure the crew were allowed to disembark and be provided industry-specific support services.

The MPV Everest had just completed a two-month voyage to Antarctica, resupplying and changing over personnel at Australia's Davis and Mawson research stations.

The fire is being investigated by the boat's Dutch owners, the Maritime Safety Authority and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

The MPV Everest was chartered for the resupply trips after the delivery of Australia's new icebreaker RSV Nuyina was delayed due to COVID.

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