The Australian authorities announced that they are sending a support ship to hit the fire-damaged supply ship, which is returning from Antarctica with 72 expeditionists and 37 crew members. They call this latest move a precaution because the ship is sailing on its own after an additional maintenance problem.
A large anchor supply ship supporting an offshore drilling project in northwest Australia, the 249-foot Go Spica, has been hired to sail out of Fremantle and provide extra security to the personnel on the damaged ship. The ship is currently sailing to Fremantle, where it is expected to arrive early next week to refuel before heading south to meet the supply ship. However, if the ship continued to advance, the meeting with the Go Spica would not take place until the ship was almost at its destination.
Go Spica was hired to meet the damaged ship south of Australia (GO Offshore photo)
“MPV Everest is not in distress and is traveling north on its own,” said Charlton Clark, General Manager Operations & Safety for the Australian Antarctic Division. “While MPV Everest does not require a tug and this is not a rescue mission, Go Spica has sufficient power to help when needed.”
The MPV Everest was in the Southern Ocean when a fire broke out in the port’s engine room on April 5. He was about 1,700 miles south of Fremantle, five days after an expected 14-day journey. The ship brings personnel back to Australia’s research bases in Antarctica after a replenishment and personnel change mission. The fire that put out the fire extinguishing system was deactivated in the port’s engine room and migrated up the vents, damaging the equipment stored on deck.
Fire-damaged equipment on the deck of the MPV Everest (AAD photo)
With an engine and a speed of about 10 knots, the captain decided to divert the originally planned route to Hobart on Tasmania to Fremantle. On April 7th, the MPV Everest had another maintenance problem with its starboard generator. The crew had to stop the ship for an hour to work on the generator.
“Hopefully, a secondary ship nearby will provide some security for expeditionists on board,” Clark said in a prepared statement. “Our focus is on the safety and wellbeing of our expeditionists, and we are focused on getting them home as quickly as possible.”
The MPV Everest is currently said to be about 1,000 southwest of Fremantle and to travel at 10 knots.
The Response Center of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) continues to monitor the transit of the MPV Everest and is in regular communication with the ship.