February 3, 2017 – The following blog post is the third in a series highlighting MSC’s role in Operation Deep Freeze (ODF) 2017. The purpose of ODF is to provide logistical support to the U.S. Antarctic Program via Department of Defense assets. MSC has supported ODF since McMurdo Station was established in 1955, providing supplies and fuel to scientists operating from the remote base.
Military Sealift Command chartered ship MT Maersk Perry has arrived at McMurdo Station, Antarctica and is currently offloading nearly 6 million gallons of diesel and jet fuel in support of the 2016 Operation Deep Freeze resupply mission.
Led by the Coast Guard ice-breaker USCGC Polar Star (WAGB 10), Maersk Perry arrived at the McMurdo Station ice-pier Feb. 2, and began the offload of its fuel cargo. Assisted by members of McMurdo fuels team, the ship will deliver 4.5 million gallons of diesel fuel, 1 million gallons of gasoline and 500,000 gallons of jet fuel; 100 percent of the fuel needed for the year. Cargo operations for Maersk Perry are scheduled to complete by Feb, 6.
Military Sealift Command charter tanker MT Maersk Perry (right) assisted by the Coast Guard ice-breaker USCG Polar Star, makes its approach to the McMurdo Station ice-pier in support of Operation Deep Freeze 2017
At the ice-pier, weather conditions continue to hold steady. Unlike years past, temperatures for this year’s mission have hovered around freezing. The bitter, high winds that have impeded other missions have been absent this year, making working conditions for the cargo offloads less challenging and staying on schedule.
“We have been very fortunate with this year’s mission,” said Dave Coulter, Military Sealift Command Pacific Sealift/Preposition Ship team lead. “The weather conditions have allowed the cargo offloads to go off without injury and on schedule and the sea states have allowed transit to McMurdo’s ice-pier to be mostly uneventful. This might go down as one of the most boring ODFs in terms of incidents and challenges to the overall mission brought on by the conditions in Antarctica.”
Securely moored at the McMurdo Station ice-pier, Military Sealift Command chartered tanker MT Maersk Perry prepares to begin fuel offload in support of Operation Deep Freeze 2017.
Maersk Perry is the second MSC chartered ship to conduct cargo operations in support of ODF. MV Ocean Giant completed its offload nearly 7 million pounds of supplies such as frozen and dry food stores, building materials, vehicles, and electronic equipment and parts, earlier this week and began its journey back to the United States. It is scheduled to arrive back in Port Hueneme, Calif., in early March.
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.