The icebreaker Aurora Australis returned to Hobart early this morning after a medical mission to Macquarie Island to repatriate an expeditioner who requires specialist medical care.

The Australian Antarctic Division diverted the ship to Macquarie Island late last week, delaying the departure of its first scheduled Antarctic voyage of the season to Davis station to deliver personnel and resupply the station.

The Antarctic Division Director Dr Nick Gales said the unexpected trip to Macquarie Island had been successful and it was pleasing to have the expeditioner back in Hobart for the specialist medical care that was not available on the remote subantarctic island.

Dr Gales said the Aurora Australis would take on additional fuel and the passengers bound for Davis station and head south early tomorrow morning (Thursday 29th October).

“While our season start has been delayed about one week we are confident that the disruption to projects will be minimal.”

Dr Gales said the 2015–16 Antarctic season promises to be busy, with more than 400 expeditioners travelling south as part of the Australian Antarctic programme.