SYDNEY – The Maritime Self-Defense Force icebreaker Shirase has rescued 66 expedition members from Australia’s Mawson research station in Antarctica, the Australian government said Monday.
The Shirase is now on its way to a different Australian Antarctic research base, some 2,300 km away, where the rescued personnel will disembark, according to the Environment Department’s Australian Antarctic Division.
The expedition members had been scheduled to return home on the Aurora Australis, but the ship was damaged in late February when it was grounded during a blizzard.
After the incident, the expedition members evacuated to Mawson Station, where they were in a state of isolation.
Australian Antarctic Division Director Nick Gales expressed deep thanks for Japan’s assistance.
After the rescue operation, the Shirase will return to Japan via Sydney as planned.