Two scuba divers are lowered to the ice Feb. 1, 2020, from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star (WAGB-10) approximately seven miles north of McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Scuba divers from the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army and the Royal Canadian Navy are serving aboard the Polar Star in order to effect emergency repairs if needed to the 44-year-old heavy icebreaker. The crew of the Seattle-based Polar Star is working near Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze 2020, the U.S. military’s contribution to the National Science Foundation-managed U.S. Antarctic Program. U.S. Coast Guard photograph by Senior Chief Petty Officer NyxoLyno Cangemi
MCMURDO STATION, Antarctica — The 159 crew members onboard U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star (WAGB 10) departed McMurdo Station Wednesday after escorting three refuel and resupply vessels and assisting with a five-day inspection of foreign research stations, installations and equipment in Antarctica.
The departure marks the Polar Star’s 23rd journey to Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze, an annual joint military service mission to resupply the United States Antarctic stations, in support of the National Science Foundation, the lead agency for the United States Antarctic Program.
The Seattle-based 399-foot, 13,000-ton Polar Star created a 23-mile channel through the ice to McMurdo Sound, which enabled the offload of over 19.5 million pounds of dry cargo and 7.6 million gallons of fuel from three logistics vessels. Together these three ships delivered enough fuel and critical supplies to sustain NSF operations throughout the year until Polar Star returns in 2021.