America’s only heavy icebreaker departs Seattle homeport Saturday

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star makes the final approach to moorings at Base Seattle, Wednesday, March 25. The crew aboard the Polar Star transited a total of 22,900 nautical miles during a 4-month deployment. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by PA3 Michael Clark)

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star makes the final approach to moorings at Base Seattle, Wednesday, March 25. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by PA3 Michael Clark)

SEATTLE — The United States’ only heavy icebreaker, Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star (WAGB-10), is scheduled to depart its homeport in Seattle Saturday.

This annual journey to Antarctica is conducted in support of Operation Deep Freeze, a joint military service mission to resupply the United States Antarctic stations of the National Science Foundation, the lead agency for the United States Antarctic Program.

The women and men aboard the Polar Star conduct this essential mission to create a navigable path through ice as thick as 21 feet, to allow refuel and resupply ships to reach McMurdo Station, the largest Antarctic station and the logistics hub of the U.S. Antarctic Program.

The U.S. Coast Guard is recapitalizing its polar icebreaker fleet to ensure access to the Polar Regions, project U.S. sovereignty, and to protect the country’s economic, environmental and national security interests. To support this endeavor, the U.S. Coast Guard is exploring options to expand Base Seattle infrastructure to support the growing icebreaker fleet.

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