Today’s ship photos show the Military Sealift Command-chartered tanker MT Maersk Peary arriving at the McMurdo Station ice-pier in support of the annual supply mission Operation Deep Freeze 2017. Each year Maersk Peary delivers 100 percent of the fuel needed for station operations over the next year. The arrival of the tanker follows the MSC chartered ship MV Ocean Giant who completed their annual cargo delivery of food, supplies and materials earlier this week.
The USCGC Polar Star, the United States’ only operational heavy icebreaker, arrived in Antarctica in January to break ice in preparation for the two vessels.
Operation Deep Freeze is a joint service, resupply mission to Antarctica in support of the National Science Foundation, the lead organization for Antarctic research. Military Sealift Command has participated in every mission since the inception of ODF in 1955.
An interesting tidbit, the McMurdo Station ice-pier is literally a pier made out of ice, and in 2012 it had to be re-built due to uncharacteristically high temperatures. This winter however, the Polar Star had to break through more than 60 miles of ice to reach the Station, far more than the 12 to 13 miles of ice it typically breaks through each year.