Coast Guard Ice Breaker in Kona and Lahaina

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii — The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Polar Sea is currently anchored off Kailua-Kona as the crew makes its way back to Seattle, Wash. after a successful two-month mission in the Antarctic.

The Polar Sea will remain anchored off Kailua-Kona for the next two days and then transit to a mooring ball off Lahaina from March 24-26. The cutter and crew of 140 spent almost two months in the ice near McMurdo Station, Antarctica, in support of Operation Deep Freeze 2007.

Operation Deep Freeze 2007 was an exercise in which the Polar Sea plowed a channel through the ice to enable a fuel and cargo vessel to resupply the science station at McMurdo Station. The Polar Sea also created an ice runway for cargo planes to land, transported scientists and helped with diving operations.

The Polar Sea is anchoring off Kailua-Kona and Lahaina to allow the crew some much-needed rest and recreation time. This marks the first time a Coast Guard ice breaker has anchored in either location for a significant period of time.

The Polar Sea is a 399-foot, 12,000-ton vessel with three gas turbine engines and five diesel engines. It has a sister ship, the Polar Star. Both vessels are home ported in Seattle, Wash. and are the biggest cutters in the Coast Guard fleet.

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