The final voyage of Australia’s Antarctic icebreaker RSV Aurora Australis departs Hobart today for sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island.

The ship’s last trip south, after 31 years of service to the Australian Antarctic Program, will be a two-week voyage to resupply Macquarie Island and transport expeditioners.

Australian Antarctic Division’s General Manager of Operations, Charlton Clark, said today marks the end of an era.

“The Aurora Australis has been the backbone of the Australian Antarctic Program for more than three decades, so the vessel has a special place in our history,” Mr Clark said.

“Over its lifetime the icebreaker has carried more than 14,000 expeditioners across the Southern Ocean on over 150 research and resupply voyages.

“Many who’ve sailed on the ship have a deep connection with the ‘Orange Roughy’ and fond memories of their Antarctic adventures.”

The delayed arrival of Australia’s new icebreaker RSV Nuyina means the Australian Antarctic Division has had to seek an alternative ship for next summer season.

The Division has entered into contract negotiations to use another vessel for a minimum of 90 days until the RSV Nuyina commences operations.

Australia’s new icebreaker is due to arrive in Hobart in November, with the first trip south scheduled for January 2021.

“We’re really looking forward to the arrival of the Nuyina, it has unprecedented cargo carrying capacity and will be able to operate as a state-of-the-art science platform.”