The bill to rescue dozens of tourists, scientists and journalists on the Russian research vessel Akademik Shokalskiy in Antarctica will reach $400,000, the federal government says.
The Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis suspended a critical resupply at Casey Station to rescue 52 passengers onboard the Russian ship after it became stuck in heavy pack ice on Christmas Day.
On Friday, environment minister Greg Hunt said the rescue mission will cost to taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, including $30,000 a day for the ship.
On Saturday, the Aurora was released from search and rescue after the Chinese ice-breaker Xue Long, which also went to the aid of the Russian ship, said it was safe after concerns it was trapped by ice.
The rescue has delayed Xue Long from executing plans for Beijing's ambitious polar station-building program.
A scientist involved with an international ice-drilling project said the failure of Shokalskiy's "Spirit of Mawson" expedition was having an enormous effect, as the already hard-pressed Australian program was squeezed further.
The Antarctic Division's acting director Jason Mundy said compensation would be dealt with between ship's owner, P&O Maritime, and insurance agencies.
According to international maritime conventions, the cost of the rescue will fall to the ships involved.
"Compensation is sought and dealt with between the insurance agencies of the ships' operators, so on that basis it may mitigate the expenses to the Antarctic program but we'll be seeking further information on the costs," he said.
The rescue had stretched resources and could affect summer research projects, Mr Mundy told the ABC.
NSW professor Chris Turney, an expedition leader on the Shokalskiy, said the expedition was "incredibly grateful" for the extraordinary international effort.
The Russian ship has a long record of Antarctic adventure tourism - including being first into Commonwealth Bay in January 2012 for the Douglas Mawson centenary.
The besetment this Christmas in heavy pack ice near Commonwealth Bay forced the Australian Government to interrupt the resupply of Casey base and steam to the rescue, leaving some polar researchers' gear on board Aurora Australis.
"Short- and long-term impacts on the Australian science program are pronounced as you can imagine," said American research professor Joe McConnell in an e-mail to The New York Times.'
"Many of these guys can't complete the research they've been planning for years because some or all of their science gear still is on the Aurora," said Dr McConnell, of Nevada's Desert Research Institute, who was at Casey for the ice-drilling project.
But it was too early to determine its impacts on the Australian program, a spokeswoman for the Australian Antarctic Division said.
"It will inevitably squeeze an already tight season," she said.
Earlier this summer, Aurora Australis itself lost 12 days when it became stuck in pack ice off Davis base during a resupply.
Xue Long had disembarked a construction team near Davis to build China's fourth Antarctic base, and was on its way to Terra Nova Bay in the Ross Sea where it planned to build a fifth station when it was called in, according to Chinese media reports.
The official polar tourism industry body, the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators distanced itself from the "Spirit of Mawson" expedition.
"Although this is not an IAATO member expedition, we are following the situation," it said in a statement.
The Aurora will proceed on its resupply mission to Casey station and then on to Hobart.