A large offshore tug has been deployed from Western Australia to accompany Australia’s chartered Antarctic resupply vessel MPV Everest in its journey to Fremantle.

GO Spica (pronounced ‘speaker’) is a 76-metre offshore supply vessel currently heading south from Dampier to refuel at Fremantle before heading to the Southern Ocean.

Australian Antarctic Division General Manager of Operations & Safety, Charlton Clark, said the decision to send a support vessel to meet MPV Everest is a precautionary measure taken by the ship’s owner, Maritime Construction Services (MCS).

“MPV Everest is not in distress and continues to travel northwards under its own power,” he said.

“While MPV Everest doesn’t need a tug and this is not a rescue mission, GO Spica has sufficient power to assist if required.”

“The AAD welcomes this action taken by MCS to support the safe return of all expeditioners and crew on board MPV Everest to Australia.”

MPV Everest experienced a fire in its port engine room on Monday, and the ship has continued travelling north using its starboard engine room.

This morning the vessel was 1020 nautical miles southwest of Fremantle, travelling at 10 knots.

There are 109 expeditioners and crew on board the vessel. There were no physical injuries in the fire that engulfed the port engine room and two inflatable rubber boats on the deck.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) Response Centre is continuing to monitor the transit of MPV Everest and is in regular communication with the vessel.