Tuesday 27 May 2014

Australian Antarctic Division chases $2.1m Shokalskiy rescue cost

A Chinese helicopter lands on an ice floe next to the Aurora Australis
during the Akademik Shokalskiy rescue operation. Photo: Nicky Phillips
Australia’s Antarctic Division continues to pursue cost recovery options following the stranding of the Akademik Shokalskiy last Christmas.

According to a report in The Age today, a Senate estimates hearing heard on Monday that the budget for the Australian Antarctic Division, which has distanced itself from the failed expedition, would shell out about $2.1 million for the rescue operation.

“The Australian Antarctic Division has engaged legal advice with a view to pursuing options for recovering the full cost of the rescue as expeditiously as possible,” said a spokeswoman for the Australian Antarctic Division.

The University of NSW signed the sub-charter to hire the vessel on the ill-fated mission co-led by two University of NSW scientists, Chris Fogwill and Chris Turney. Experienced Antarctic expedition leader, Greg Mortimer, oversaw other aspects of the mission and, according to anotherreport in The Age, issued an order to bring passengers back to the vessel as it needed to leave. Anecdotal reports suggest the two scientists failed to comply with the order, resulting in the standing of the vessel.

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