Power outage hits Tonga relief vessel | Maitland’s Mercury

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An Australian Navy ship that was providing essential aid to tsunami-ravaged Tonga suffered a major power outage. The Ministry of Defense has confirmed that HMAS Adelaide, which docked in the Pacific island nation last week, lost power during the operation. A defense spokesman said emergency power had been activated on board the ship to restore critical systems. “The situation is being closely monitored and the safety of the vessel and the embarked forces remains our top priority,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “The power outage did not affect Australia’s ability to respond to requests from the Tonga government to assist in its recovery efforts.” The ship departed Brisbane and arrived in Tonga last week carrying essential relief supplies including medical and humanitarian supplies as well as helicopters following the January 15 underwater volcanic eruption and tsunami. However, Australian relief efforts were hampered earlier when 23 crew members aboard the ship tested positive for COVID-19, despite rigorous pre-departure screening measures. Strict border measures are in place in COVID-free Tonga, with the vessel allowed to dock and unload supplies. Defense said civilian specialists are on their way to carry out an assessment of affected systems on HMAS Adelaide following the loss of power. The ministry denied reports that the vessel was under tow or that systems such as air conditioning, sanitation and refrigeration were down due to the breakdown. Australian Associated Press

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