HomeNewsArticle Display

U.S. icebreaking ship arrives in McMurdo

MCMURDO, Antarctica (AFNEWS) -- The Coast Guard became part of the Air Force-led Joint Task Force Support Forces Antarctica Jan. 1 with the arrival of the Cutter Polar Sea at McMurdo Station, Antarctica.

Home ported in Seattle, the Polar Sea arrived after a month-long voyage including stops in Honolulu and Sydney, Australia.

The Polar Sea joined the Swedish icebreaker Oden, which began breaking ice Dec. 26.

For the past 50 years, Coast Guard icebreakers have deployed to Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze, where ships have broken through as much as 84 nautical miles of ice to produce a navigable shipping channel into McMurdo Station. This year's channel will be approximately 23 nautical miles long -- 13 of which is first year ice at an average thickness of 3 to 5 feet and 10 of which is multi-year ice at an average thickness of 5 to 11 feet.

This vital shipping channel allows supply ships to deliver more than 6 million gallons of fuel and 4,000 metric tons of cargo, enabling McMurdo Station and South Pole Station to remain manned and operational throughout the harsh winter months. The Polar Sea also acts as a floating research platform for scientists that travel onboard.

Ice breaking operations will continue until the departure of the cargo ship in mid-February when the Polar Sea will return home.

The Polar Sea, a 399-foot polar class icebreaker with a 140-person crew, is recently out of a two-year overhaul. The Polar Sea conducted sea trials in the Arctic this summer to test all the ship's equipment and train the crew prior to transiting to Antarctica to re-supply the McMurdo station for the National Science Foundation.

The Polar Sea was specifically designed for solo icebreaking in remote Polar Regions. The cutter's red reinforced hull is made of 1.75 inches of steel that covers a specially contoured icebreaking bow. The cutter can call on 75,000 shaft horsepower enabling it to break up to 21 feet of ice. The Polar Sea has deployed 17 times in support of Operation Deep Freeze.

(Courtesy of 13th Air Force Public Affairs)

Comment on this story (comments may be published on Air Force Link)

Click here to view the comments/letters page

Engage

Twitter
Coming in hot Crew chiefs assigned to the 379th Expeditionary Air Maintenance Squadron conduct hot-refuel training… https://t.co/bOue5e3y08
Twitter
Honoring heritage. The Tuskegee Airmen were not only pilots, they were support personnel as well. Although better… https://t.co/9dJPHKfnXS
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Thank you @Ng_Eng_Hen for welcoming me to discuss the close U.S.-Singapore security partnership. The @USAirForce looks f…
Twitter
Measuring base readiness @Spangdahlem_AB Airmen participated in a base readiness exercise on Nov. 17. During the e… https://t.co/DK6PKX7Irs
Twitter
The Digital University was recently launched to increase digital literacy, by providing access to free courses to a… https://t.co/0fq0lgPEvu
Twitter
Combat Hammer ⚒️ Airmen from Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina participated in exercise Combat Hammer, which is… https://t.co/sYUgdA0MLs
Twitter
555th Fighter Squadron Airmen prepare for takeoff during a bi-lateral exercise at Aviano Air Base, Italy. The train… https://t.co/3ZjJsLkn2O
Twitter
Train like we fight. Operators participate in the Special Operations Terminal Attack Controller Course. The 5-week… https://t.co/IOoJBrbqgO
Twitter
Twitter
RT @AFSpecOpsCmd: Specialized training ensures our Air Commandos are ready any time, any place. #ReadyAF 📸: A1C Blake Wiles https://t.co/8s…
Twitter
Strengthening readiness with dynamic force employment F-16 Fighting Falcons deployed from Spangdahlem Air Base par… https://t.co/xxEbuttB1G
Twitter
Strengthening community ties @AZNationalGuard Soldiers and Airmen served w/a national food bank to provide 1K+ tur… https://t.co/DzmCnjZIZq
Twitter
New toys 🚒 Firefighters assigned to the 422d Fire Emergency Services use a new Rosenbauer PANTHER vehicle to figh… https://t.co/DvhDRwuiYT
Twitter
RT @AF_Academy: Great grad spotlight! We’re proud of you, Keidrick! #LongBlueLine @usairforce @DeptofDefense https://t.co/LYbFtiZWr3
Twitter
Half a century of service. @SecAFOfficial called to congratulate Laura Gourgas, a longtime federal civilian employ… https://t.co/m8s21eOWnO
Twitter
Congratulations, MSgt Holly Vaught! When 20-year-old Holly Vaught walked into an Air Force recruiter’s office in t… https://t.co/NFve0Zheeg
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: Taking care of our people doesn’t just stop at the Airmen, it extends out to their families as well. During a time of crisi…
Twitter
Long haul MEDEVAC @TeamFairchild Airmen worked alongside @wyoguard to conduct an aeromedical evacuation mission, w… https://t.co/zEGFybjLFF
Twitter
The 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group hosted both Weapons System Evaluation Program East and West at @TeamTyndall and… https://t.co/If0RBeR8TJ
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,312,176
Follow Us