HONOLULU – The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star made a scheduled port call to Honolulu Friday as it transits to conduct missions in the Antarctic.
The Polar Star departed Seattle Dec. 3 for Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze for the first time since 2006 with the vital task of resupplying the National Science Foundation Scientific Research Station in McMurdo.
For more than 50 years Coast Guard icebreakers have deployed to Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze. They will assist by creating a navigable shipping lane through the layers of ice in McMurdo Sound. Approximately eight million U.S. gallons of fuel will be sent to McMurdo residents through the channel and be delivered to Winter Quarters Bay. This fuel allows the Station to remain manned and ready during the freezing winter months.
This past summer Polar Star conducted sea trials in the Arctic to test all of the ship’s equipment and train the crew prior to embarking to Antarctica this winter. During the summer trip, Polar Star spent weeks in the Beaufort Sea north of Barrow, Alaska, testing propulsion machinery, conducting emergency drills and qualifying crewmembers in individual watchstations.
With a tumultuous schedule leading up to Polar Star’s Deep Freeze Deployment, the crew have not only overhauled many vital pieces of equipment from the bridge to the engine rooms, but have successfully completed a number of assessments to achieve their fully reactivated status.
Polar Star is a 399-foot polar class icebreaker with a 140-person crew. The cutter is recently out of a three-year, $90 million overhaul, which is part of the Coast Guard’s plan to reactivate the heavy icebreaker.