Polar Star Marks 25th Participation in Operation Deep Freeze

U.S. Coast Guard cutter Polar Star
The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Polar Star departed Seattle on Nov. 13, heading to Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze. Its mission is to cut a path through ice fields for the resupply and refueling vessel to reach McMurdo station, the logistical hub for the U.S. Antarctic Program. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Clark.

Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, the nation’s only heavy icebreaker, is off on its 25th journey to Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze, an annual joint military mission to resupply the U.S. Antarctic stations in support of the National Science Foundation, for the nation’s Antarctic Program.

Polar Star left its homeport in Seattle on Nov 13 with a crew of 159 U.S Coast Guard men and women, heading south on its annual trek to Antarctica.

Capt. William Woityra, commanding officer of the Polar Star, said that maintaining and operating the 45-year-old ship in the harshest environment on the planet makes for arduous duty, but that the crew are committed to this important mission, and “excited for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit a part of the world that most will never get to see.”

“The Coast Guard has an enduring commitment to the U.S. Antarctic Program through the Deep Freeze mission to provide uninhibited access to the region,” Vice Adm. Michael f. McAllister, commander of the Coast Guard Pacific Area, said. “We are proud to support a 60-year legacy of peaceful international cooperation for science and preservation of the pristine Antarctic environment and we will continue to ensure adherence to rules-based order into the future.”