Nation’s Only Heavy Icebreaker Returns To Seattle Today from Antarctic Mission

The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star breaks ice in McMurdo Sound near Antarctica on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. The crew of the Seattle-based Polar Star is on deployment to Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze 2018, the U.S. military’s contribution to the National Science Foundation-managed U.S. Antarctic Program. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Nick Ameen.

Seattle, WA – The crew of the United States’ only heavy icebreaker, Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, returned home today  to Seattle at 10 a.m.,  after supporting Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica, the U.S. military operation to resupply the U.S. Antarctic Program.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star overcame flooding, an electrical outage, electrical switchboard issues and an incinerator fire to accomplish their mission supporting Operation Deep Freeze. The crew supported the National Science Foundation (NSF) by cutting a resupply channel through 17 miles of Antarctic ice in the Ross Sea to escort a supply vessel to the continent.

The Polar Star crew departed Seattle Nov. 27 to assist in the annual delivery of operating supplies and fuel for NSF research stations in Antarctica. Operation Deep Freeze is the logistical support provided by the U.S. Armed Forces to the U.S. Antarctic Program.

Polar Star is homeported in Seattle and carries approximately 150 crew members, 1.5 million gallons of fuel and enough food stores to last one year in the ice should it be necessary. Polar Star is 399-feet long, 13,500 tons, 84-feet wide, has a 34-foot draft (same as an aircraft carrier), 75,000 horse power and nine engines (six diesels, three jet-turbines). The ship can break continuously through six feet of ice and up to 21 feet of ice by backing and ramming. Commissioned in 1976, the cutter is 43-years-old.


Press memo written and provided by the United State Coast Guard 13th District. 

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