Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star returns from Operation Deep Freeze

Friends and family members wait for the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, a 399-foot heavy icebreaker, while the vessel is moored at Base Seattle, March 16, 2018. The Polar Star crew departed Seattle on November 30th to assist in the annual delivery of operating supplies and fuel for NSF research stations in Antarctica. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ali Flockerzi.

Friends and family members wait for the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star while the vessel is moored at Base Seattle, March 16, 2018. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ali Flockerzi.

SEATTLE — The crew aboard the United States’ only heavy icebreaker, Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, returned home Friday to Seattle after supporting Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica, the U.S. military operation to resupply the U.S. Antarctic Program.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star overcame flooding and engine failure to accomplish their mission supporting Operation Deep Freeze. The crew supported the National Science Foundation (NSF) by cutting a resupply channel through 15 miles of Antarctic ice in the Ross Sea and escorting supply vessels to the continent.

The Polar Star crew departed Seattle Nov. 30, to assist in the annual delivery of operating supplies and fuel for NSF research stations in Antarctica. Operation Deep Freeze is the logistical support provided by the U.S. Armed Forces to the U.S. Antarctic Program.

Polar Star is homeported in Seattle and carries approximately 150 crewmembers, 1.5 million gallons of fuel and enough food stores to last one year in the ice should it be necessary. Polar Star is 399-feet long, 13,500 tons, 84-feet wide, has a 34-foot draft (same as an aircraft carrier), 75,000 horse power and nine engines (six diesels, three jet-turbines). The ship can break continuously through six feet of ice and up to 21 feet of ice by backing and ramming. The 41-year-old cutter is expected to reach the end of its extended service life by 2023.

Photos from Operation Deep Freeze can be viewed at our Flickr page.

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