The Australian Antarctic Division has rescheduled its first voyage of the season from Davis station to Macquarie Island to repatriate an expeditioner on the island with a medical condition requiring specialist management.

The Australian Antarctic Division Director Dr Nick Gales said that instead of departing Hobart tonight for Davis station as planned, the icebreaker Aurora Australis would make a return trip to Macquarie Island to pick up an expeditioner who has wintered there and become unwell in recent days.

Dr Gales said the expeditioner was in a stable condition but requiring specialist care not available on the island.

“The health of our expeditioners is paramount and we always build flexibility into our programme for unforeseen circumstances such as this,” Dr Gales said.

For many of the expeditioners bound for Antarctica it means several more days in Hobart as only operational personnel are required for the trip to Macquarie Island.

Dr Gales said the change of schedule would delay the voyage to Davis station by around six days.

“Hopefully the season will be back on track later next week with minimal disruption expected to our very busy season of scientific and operational programmes.”