The icebreaker “Polar Star” of the US Coast Guard is visiting Valparaiso, after carrying out a commission in Antarctica that allowed the resupply of the McMurdo base, opening a channel for the navigation of cargo and fuel ships.
After 67 days in Antarctica as part of Operation Deep Freeze 2023, the Unit under the command of Captain Keith Ropella landed at the Coat Molo on Saturday, March 18. Subsequently, Commander Ropella presented his protocol greetings to the Commander in Chief of the First Naval Zone, Rear Admiral Juan Pablo Zúñiga, during the morning of Monday 20.
The “Polar Star”, is the only heavy polar icebreaker in the United States Coast Guard fleet and its most powerful vessel. It belongs to the Polar class, designed to break up ice in open water in the Arctic and Antarctic; It measures 122 meters in length, 25.4 meters in beam and can reach a speed of 18 knots.
These spacecraft have the function of supporting the scientific and research tasks that are developed in the polar regions, as well as resupplying the stations located in those remote areas. Because of their special capabilities, they can also perform search and rescue, ship escort, environmental protection, and law enforcement and treaty enforcement tasks in areas that most ships cannot reach.
Every year, Polar Star heads to McMurdo Station, the U.S. base located near the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica. Its main objective is to open a channel in the fixed ice, sometimes more than 6 meters thick, to the station and escort research and resupply vessels.
In this regard, Commander Ropella pointed out that, “In this commission, we helped four boats, opening the way for them. It was a unique challenge, because underwater there were very thick blocks of ice. Also, at the base, there is a small ice pier that is many years old and very deteriorated, so we had to tow it so that it can be replaced during the winter.”
Finally, the Unit will remain in Valparaiso until Wednesday 22, an opportunity in which a delegation will participate in the ceremony of Changing the Guard of Honor of the Monument to the National Navy, and then set sail and continue in transit to its home port in Seattle, Washington state.