December 29, 2016 – In Port Hueneme, Calif., under the warm Southern California sun, cargo is being loaded onto the Military Sealift Command charter ship MV Ocean Giant in preparation for delivery to the remote Antarctica outpost of McMurdo Station, in support of the annual resupply mission; Operation Deep Freeze.
Working 24 hours a day, 444 pieces of cargo, or nearly 7 million pounds of supplies such as frozen and dry food stores, building materials, vehicles, and electronic equipment and parts will be loaded onto Ocean Giant. The cargo makes-up 80 percent of the materials needed by the personnel at McMurdo Station for the winter over period. Following a stop in Christchurch, New Zealand, where the ship will load additional cargo, Ocean Giant will travel to the ice-pier at McMurdo Station, where members of Navy Cargo Handling Battalion ONE will conduct the offload. Before departing McMurdo station, Ocean Giant will be loaded with ice core samples that will be stored on the ship in sub-zero freezer containers. The ice core samples will be delivered to the United States for scientific study. In addition, retrograde cargo will be loaded onto the ship for transportation off the continent. These include trash and recyclable materials for disposal and equipment no longer required on the station.
On the other side of the world, MSC chartered tanker ship Maersk Perry has departed a fuel pier in Greece with 4.5 million gallons of diesel fuel and 500,000 gallons of jet fuel; 100 percent of the fuel needed for the year. Like Ocean Giant, Maersk Perry will deliver its cargo to the ice pier at McMurdo station.
Operation Deep Freeze is a joint service, on-going Defense Support to Civilian Authorities activity in support of the National Science Foundation (NSF), lead agency for the United States Antarctic Program. Mission support consists of active duty, Guard and Reserve personnel from the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Army, and Coast Guard as well as Department of Defense civilians and attached non-DOD civilians. ODF operates from two primary locations situated at Christchurch, New Zealand and McMurdo Station, Antarctica. An MSC-chartered cargo ship and tanker have made the challenging voyage to Antarctica every year since the station was and its resupply mission were established in 1955.