United States’ lone heavy icebreaker enters Antarctic ice

Defence Blog

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, the nation’s solely heavy icebreaker, entered the quick ice Jan. 1 roughly 20 miles north of McMurdo Station, Antarctica, which marks the official begin of the ship’s icebreaking mission, generally known as Operation Deep Freeze.

Quick ice is the thick ice connected to the shore of Antarctica.

The Polar Star’s mission is to interrupt by way of the 20 miles of strong ice, a few of which is as much as 10 ft thick, to ensure that the Nationwide Science Basis’s McMurdo and Amundsen-Scott South Pole stations to be resupplied. The Polar Star breaks by way of the quick ice to create an preliminary channel after which travels again by way of the passage to additional break the ice into sufficiently small items for different ships to get by way of safely. These refuel and provide ships carry vital gasoline and provides used to maintain NSF operations all year long till Polar Star returns in 2021.

The 2019-2020 ODF season marks the 60th Anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty and the 64th 12 months of army dedication, ingenuity and labor in help of the Antarctic mission.

ODF is not like every other U.S. army operation. Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, most inhospitable continent on Earth. Every journey to Antarctica requires cautious planning and coordination. As climate modifications shortly on the backside of the world, situations are repeatedly monitored to make sure security of plane, ships, cargo, passengers and crews supporting ODF.

The Polar Star is the one operational heavy icebreaker within the U.S. fleet. The cutter, which was commissioned in 1976, has a crew of 159 individuals, weighs 13,500 tons and makes use of 75,000 horsepower to interrupt ice as much as 21 ft thick.

The U.S. army started its Operation Deep Freeze mission in 1955.

The Coast Guard has been the only supplier of the nation’s polar icebreaking functionality since 1965, and seeks to extend its icebreaking fleet with six new Polar Safety Cutters to make sure continued nationwide presence and entry to the polar areas.

Photograph by Senior Chief Petty Officer NyxoLyno Cangemi