Cancellation of Antarctic voyage

10 January 2022

CSIRO has taken the decision to cancel the upcoming voyage of research vessel (RV) Investigator after a voyage participant tested positive for COVID-19. The safety and wellbeing of all voyage participants remains CSIRO and Geoscience Australia’s number one focus.

RV Investigator was due to depart on a 56-day voyage to Antarctica led by Geoscience Australia in early January. This voyage was to study changes in Antarctic bottom water to help predict how a warming climate will impact future ocean circulation.

The positive COVID-19 result on board came during an extended pre-departure medical clearance period being served on the ship while at port in Hobart. This screening process was implemented under strict Voyage COVID Protocols. CSIRO advised Tasmanian public health authorities and TasPorts of the positive case, and is following all advice and directions provided.

Voyage participants have been deemed close contacts and have entered quarantine for 7 days in appropriate accommodation. CSIRO is assisting participants to quarantine and is providing them with support during this time. Medical professionals have provided advice and direct support to voyage participants on the ship to ensure they received the best possible care for their health and wellbeing.

CSIRO seeks to manage all voyages with strict voyage COVID Protocols in place to protect the health and safety of voyage participants, crew and the community. This includes COVID-19 testing prior to arrival in Tasmania (for interstate participants), before boarding the vessel, and then again during an extended medical clearance period while in port.

CSIRO and Geoscience Australia will work closely with all partners to consider what options there might be in the future to conduct the research that was planned for this voyage.