An Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) voyage to Antarctica due to sail this evening has been delayed.

AAD acting director Kim Pitt said that a report by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) had raised concerns about some aspects of the MV Vasiliy Golovnin.

Mr Pitt said that while an independent survey before its arrival in Australia had indicated its suitability, a precautionary survey prior to sailing today by AMSA had raised concerns. The AAD undertakes these surveys as a matter of course.

“Safety is of the utmost importance to the Australian Antarctic Division and the ship will not sail until we're fully satisfied that all safety issues have been addressed,” Mr Pitt said.

Vasiliy Golovnin has been chartered by the Australian Antarctic Division to resupply its three continental stations Casey, Davis and Mawson. This is the first time the AAD has chartered the ship.

Mr Pitt said that Vasiliy Golovnin was chartered through an open tender process and the AAD’s expectation has been that it was fit for purpose.

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MV Vasiliy Golovnin

  • Registered in Vladivostok, it is one of a series of Vitus Bering class icebreaking transport vessels purpose-built for service in Arctic and Antarctic waters.
  • Sister ships are also used to support other nations’ Antarctic programs.
  • 13,514 tonne.
  • Powered by two 5730 Kw diesel electric engines.
  • Built to carry general and bulk cargo, cargo fuel oil, heavy vehicles and containers.
  • Fitted with hydraulic electric deck cranes, stern quarter door and landing ramp, helicopter hangar and helipad.
  • 39 crew.
  • Accommodation for 27 expeditioners.