March 12, 2020 – Military Sealift Command-chartered multi-purpose vessel MV Ocean Giant has successfully completed Operation Deep Freeze (ODF) cargo offload operations in Port Hueneme, Calif. The operation was part of MSC’s annual resupply mission in support of the Joint Task Force Support for Antarctica mission to the NSF-managed U.S. Antarctic Program.
A team from MSC, including Navy Reservists from MSC’s Expeditionary Port Unit (EPU) 114, coordinated all aspects of the offload of 504 containers of retrograde—including station waste and recyclables, as well as ice-core samples for scientific study.
The offload was the final step in Ocean Giant’s support of ODF. Their mission began in late December, with a loadout of dry cargo in Port Hueneme, Calif., where the cargo was loaded before delivery to Antarctica. Containers and various breakbulk equaling nearly 7 million pounds of supplies such as frozen and dry food stores, building materials, vehicles, and electronic equipment and parts, were removed from the ship. In addition to supplies for McMurdo Station, Ocean Giant also delivered a 65-ton Marine Causeway System that consisted of ten, 24 foot, pre-assembled pieces. The MCS replaced the traditional ice-pier. Seabees from Navy Cargo Handling Battalion ONE (NCHB -1) worked around-the-clock offloading the cargo.
Ocean Giant is one of three ships contracted by MSC for the ODF mission. MT Maersk Peary delivered nearly eight million gallons of diesel and jet fuel, 100 percent needed for the year, and SLNC Magothy delivered five thousand metric tons of construction materials and equipment that will be used to expand the facilities at McMurdo Station.
“This has been a great mission for MSC,” said Capt. Gabe Varela, commander, Military Sealift Command Pacific. “Missions like ODF really highlight the professionalism of the Merchant Mariners who make up out workforce. Unlike many of the exercises we participate in throughout the year, ODF is a real world event where the supplies we deliver sustain life and the study of our planet. I couldn’t be more proud of the entire team and the good work they did supporting this mission.”
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. MSC has supported ODF since McMurdo Station was established in 1955, providing supplies and fuel to scientists operating from the remote base.