POLAR SEA to Depart for Operation Deep Freeze

This ones a little old but I thought I’d post anyway

November 17, 2005 COAST GUARD ISLAND, ALAMEDA, Calif. – The U.S. Coast Guard polar icebreaker, POLAR SEA, will depart from Seattle Saturday morning for Operation Deep Freeze, a five-month mission in support of the U.S. Antarctic Program.

The Deep Freeze mission requires the escort of a fuel tanker and container ship through the ice to re-supply McMurdo Station, the primary U.S. science and logistics hub for Antarctic research efforts. The National Science Foundation (NSF) runs the U.S. Antarctic Program, which provides support for international scientific exploration throughout the Antarctic continent. In order to re-supply McMurdo Station, POLAR SEA must break a channel during the Antarctic summer. As a result, Deep Freeze missions typically occur from Nov. 1st to April 1st each year. During the transit to and from Antarctica, POLAR SEA typically stops in ports such as Honolulu, HI and Sydney, Australia.

Upon reaching the ice edge, which can extend 10 – 80 nautical miles from McMurdo, POLAR SEA will cut a channel into the base, allowing fuel and cargo ships to reach McMurdo Station, supplying the base with one year’s worth of food, fuel, and materials.

Commissioned in 1978, POLAR SEA was specifically designed for solo icebreaking in remote polar regions. The ship has a reinforced hull made of 1.75 inches of steel that covers a specially contoured icebreaking bow. When needed, the 399′ ice breaker can call on 75,000 shaft horsepower, which enables it to break up to 21 feet of ice.

POLAR SEA is participating in the 51st Antarctic mission by a U.S. icebreaker. The first Operation Deep Freeze was carried out in 1955, the year that McMurdo Station was commissioned.

More information on POLAR SEA can be found at the Polar Sea website.

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