Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Polar Star Departs

By Karen Robes Meeks

The Seattle-homeported US Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, the nation’s sole heavy icebreaker, is on its way to establish a channel through 15 miles of ice in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, in an effort to resupply the US Antarctic Program.

“Operation Deep Freeze, the US military’s contribution to the National Science Foundation-managed, civilian USAP, is unlike any other US military operation,” said Capt. Michael Davanzo, commanding officer of Polar Star. “It's one of the most difficult US military peacetime missions due to the harsh environment and extreme remoteness in which it is conducted.”

The Polar Star, which carries about 150 crew members, 1.5 million gallons of fuel, and a year’s supply of food, left Honolulu in December to replenish the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo and Amundsen-Scott South Pole stations.

“The Polar Star is one of the most powerful icebreakers in the world and is critical to our Nation’s continued national security and access to Antarctic and Arctic regions,” said Davanzo. “Operation Deep Freeze is one of many operations in the Pacific in which the US Coast Guard promotes security and stability across the region.”