Like the other Dan ships, the MV Magga Dan made a significant contribution to resupplying Australian Antarctic stations, and facilitating mapping, surveying and exploration. The Magga Dan was constructed in Denmark by the J. Lauritzen Lines, and was equipped with very similar features to the Thala Dan.

'Magga’ is a Scandinavian name; ‘Dan’ means from Denmark (Danish).


  • Motor Vessel (MV)
  • Lloyds+ 100 A1 “Strengthened for Navigation in Ice”, and Finnish Ice Class 1 A
  • main engine: Burmeister & Wain type 735-VBF-62. The engine was a direct reversible single-acting two-stroke, 7-cylinder diesel motor with turbo charge
  • length: 75.14 metres
  • breadth moulded: 131.72 metres
  • bunker capacity: 450 tons
  • range of action: 16 000 miles
  • speed: 12 knots
  • passenger capacity: 35

The Magga Dan was ice-strengthened to an unusual extent with stem and shell plating beyond requirement. Like the Thala Dan, the ship was fitted with an ice knife to protect the rudder when going astern. In addition, three ice fins were arranged on each side of the hull to protect the propeller from ice damage.

Key Antarctic voyages

On the Magga Dan's 1959–1960 voyage, ANARE surveyors and scientists explored the entire coastline of the Australian Antarctic Territory using land-based expeditions via dog-sledge, and mapping and surveying via aircraft operations. It was the first time that helicopters were used by ANARE in Antarctica. They became an established tool of operations from 1960.

In 1961, artist Nel Law, wife of Antarctic Director Phillip Law, became the first woman to visit Antarctica with ANARE travelling on the Magga Dan.