USCG Cutter Polar Star Completes Operation Deep Freeze 2024 In Antarctica

The United States Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star (WAGB 10) completed its mission for Operation Deep Freeze 2024 in Antarctica, departing McMurdo Station on February 12, 2024, after 51 days of operations below the Antarctic Circle.

During its deployment, the Polar Star and its crew faced the challenges of breaking down a 38-mile route through dense, moving ice to allow ships to access McMurdo Station. Additionally, the crew helped the station’s essential supply operations by escorting an oil tanker and a cargo ship through the ice.

The operations officer, Lt. Cmdr. Don Rudnickas, stated that the weather conditions this year’s fast ice in McMurdo Sound presented exceptional challenges due to weather conditions. However, the crew successfully navigated these obstacles to achieve their primary objective of resupplying McMurdo Station by sea.


Video Credits: U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star/Facebook

The cutter explored the Bay of Whales extensively before leaving the region. Members of the Coast Guard Regional Dive Lockers performed a historic dive, reaching 90 miles south of the previous record for the southernmost scuba dive. Additionally, the crew held an Antarctica Service Medal ceremony ashore near the Ross Ice Shelf in the Bay of Whales, providing a moment of commemoration and reflection.

The Polar Star’s commanding officer, Capt. Keith Ropella emphasised the operation’s diversity and the difficulties of maintaining a 48-year-old cutter operationally ready under harsh circumstances. He applauded the crew for their technical expertise, camaraderie, and resilience in overcoming the constant obstacles presented by the surroundings.

 United States Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star
Image Credits: U.S. Coast Guard

The Joint Task Force, composed of members of the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force, was also praised for helping to make the mission successful. The National Science Foundation’s research activities in Antarctica depend on Operation Deep Freeze, a yearly logistical support operation demonstrating America’s commitment to the Antarctic Treaty and international scientific endeavours.

The Polar Star, a 13,500-ton and 399-foot heavy polar icebreaker, is the only U.S. asset that can access both Polar Regions. It measures 84 feet wide and has a 34-foot draft. The combined power capacity of the six diesel and three gas turbine engines is 75,000 horsepower.

The Polar Star’s continued dedication to enabling scientific research and logistical operations in one of the most challenging conditions on Earth was demonstrated by this year’s expedition, which was the vessel’s 27th journey to Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze.

Reference: USCG

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Marine Insight News Network is a premier source for up-to-date, comprehensive, and insightful coverage of the maritime industry. Dedicated to offering the latest news, trends, and analyses in shipping, marine technology, regulations, and global maritime affairs, Marine Insight News Network prides itself on delivering accurate, engaging, and relevant information.

About Author

Marine Insight News Network is a premier source for up-to-date, comprehensive, and insightful coverage of the maritime industry. Dedicated to offering the latest news, trends, and analyses in shipping, marine technology, regulations, and global maritime affairs, Marine Insight News Network prides itself on delivering accurate, engaging, and relevant information.

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