Australia’s Antarctic program is being rescheduled due to delays caused by heavy pack ice around Davis station.

Australia’s research and resupply vessel Aurora Australis was due to arrive at Davis last Tuesday, but thick ice and blizzard conditions stalled its progress almost 160 nautical miles off Davis.

The ship was then scheduled to go to Casey station to retrieve summer expeditioners.

The Australian Antarctic Division’s Operations Manager, Robb Clifton, said contingency planning is in place if the delay continues into next week.

“We are preparing the French resupply ship L’Astrolabe to go to Casey early in the week if the Aurora Australis is unable to complete its retrieval of Davis personnel in the next few days,” Mr Clifton said.

“We are very aware that it’s the end of the summer season and the ice has been unpredictable this year, so we need to be ready to retrieve our expeditioners as soon as possible,” he said.

The proposed changes will mean scheduled trips to Macquarie Island on Voyages 5 and 6 will be delayed.