USCG announced that the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star is returning home Friday, 17 March, from an expedition to Antarctica, where they supported Operation Deep Freeze 2017, the U.S. military’s component of the National Science Foundation-managed U.S. Antarctic Program.
Polar Star’s crew escorted two cargo vessels, through more than 70 miles of thick Antarctic ice, in order to help in the annual resupply and refueling of two research stations, McMurdo and Amundsen-Scott South Pole.
Polar Star required significant repairs in advance of the 107-day deployment, including a major overhaul of the ship’s power plant. Additionally, the 40-year-old cutter experienced numerous engineering and mechanical issues throughout the mission, testing the training and skills of the 150-person crew.
After completing operations in Antarctica, the cutter crew made a scheduled port call in New Zealand, to help the New Zealand Defense Force and local rescue in their response to the Port Hills Wildfire in Christchurch.
Homeported in Seattle, the 399-foot long cutter consists the United States’ only operational heavy icebreaker capable of conducting Antarctic resupply missions and the world’s most powerful non-nuclear icebreaker.
Source: USCG news