Military Sealift Command chartered heavy lift ship MV Ocean Giant pulled into Naval Station Norfolk to complete its support of of Pacer Goose 2017, the annual resupply mission to Thule Air Force Base, August 18.
Ocean Giant is to spend multiple days at the naval station off-loading outdated equipment and waste material transported from the remote U.S. Air Force base, located in the northern coast of Greenland.
“Ocean Giant’s mission support of Pacer Goose 2017 was very successful,” said Rick Caldwell, a Military Sealift Command supervisory marine transportation specialist. “Pacer Goose is a critical mission as Thule Air Base would not be able to operate without the fuel and supplies which were delivered.”
Ocean Giant is crewed by 19 civilian merchant mariners who perform all the operations aboard the vessel including navigation, engineering, medical care and line handling.
“Ocean Giant is a beautiful ship and has the ability to transport a wide variety of cargo,” said Capt. Timothy Arey, Ocean Giant’s master. “The ship was a great fit for this mission because it is double hulled to handle the ice and is extremely maneuverable. The ship also has its own cranes so it can load and off-load cargo independently.”
During the ship’s northern track to Thule, Ocean Giant rendezvoused with the oil tanker MT Maersk Peary, which was loaded with fuel for Thule. The two ships followed the Canadian Coast Guard’s Pierre-Radisson class icebreaker CCGS Henry Larson through the ice and into the air base’s harbor.
“Merchant marines have a proud history of service to the United States,” said Arey. “During WWII civilian mariners did their part in support of the war effort and we are very proud to be supporting the military by delivering supplies to Thule.”
Pacer Goose, the annual operation to resupply Thule, began in 1952 using U.S. Navy combatant ships to transport goods equipment and materials to the remote military base.