An engine room fire on board Australia’s chartered Antarctic resupply vessel MPV Everest was rapidly contained and extinguished after it broke out yesterday afternoon.
All 109 expeditioners and crew on board the vessel are safe and there are no injuries.
The ice-strengthened ship is travelling home after resupplying Davis and Mawson research stations in east Antarctica.
General Manager of Operations and Safety at the Australian Antarctic Division, Charlton Clark, said the fire started just after 2pm.
“The fire was detected in the vessel’s port-side engine room. The room was quickly isolated to contain the fire, before it was extinguished by the fire suppression systems,” Mr Clark said.
“The ship has maintained full power capabilities and is currently continuing its course northwards at 9 knots, using a separate starboard engine room.”
MPV Everest is 1700 nautical miles south of Perth, five days into a 14 day voyage.
“The crew and expeditioners on the vessel did an incredible job responding to what was a very challenging situation in the middle of the Southern Ocean,” Mr Clark said.
Australian Antarctic Division organisational psychologist Maree Riley, said families of expeditioners have been informed.
“There’s 72 Antarctic expeditioners on board, some of whom have been in Antarctica for a year and half,” Ms Riley said.
“We are in touch with their families by phone and email to keep them informed of the situation.”
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) was alerted to the incident yesterday and the vessel is now operating under its own power heading to Australia.
The cause of yesterday’s engine room fire will be investigated by the ship’s owner, Maritime Construction Services (MCS), and relevant shipping and safety regulators if required.
The ship was due back into Hobart mid-April, but a decision on the best port for MPV Everest to dock in, is yet be made.
Further updates will be provided at 1400 on Wednesday 7 April.