The Military Sealift Command chartered ship MV Ocean Gladiator has arrived at the ice-pier at McMurdo Station, Antarctica in support of the annual resupply mission to McMurdo Station, Antarctica; Operation Deep Freeze 2024.
Ocean Gladiator moored at the McMurdo ice-pier on Saturday. Shortly after arriving, the crew and members of Navy Cargo Handling Battalion ONE began the offload of 407 pieces of cargo, consisting of containers filled with mechanical parts, vehicles, construction materials, office supplies and electronics equipment, and mobile office units; supplies needed to sustain the next year of operations at McMurdo Station, Antarctica.
Once the offload is complete, Ocean Gladiator 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. They will then depart McMurdo station, en route the United States.
Following Ocean Gladiator’s departure, MSC chartered tanker ship MT Acadia Trader will arrive at the ice-pier, and will begin an offload of over 7 million gallons of a special blend of diesel fuel mixed specifically for Antarctica called AN8; 1.5 million gallons of aviation fuel; and 155 thousand gallons of gasoline; 100 percent of the fuel needed for two years at the remote outpost.
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 and its resupply mission were established in 1955.