Members of the military dive team assigned to the U.S. Coast Guard heavy icebreaker Polar Star, inspect the cutter’s propellers while it is hove-to in the ice in the Ross Sea, January 30, 2015. The dive was to inspect of Polar Star’s hull and propellers to check for damage incurred while breaking ice.
Within a week of this inspection, the USCGC Polar Star would be sent to free an Australian fishing vessel with 26 people on board that became stuck in thick ice off McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, a 330-mile trek away through heavy ice, snow and wind. Before being diverted, the 150-person crew of Polar Star was deployed to McMurdo Station, Antarctica as part of Operation Deep Freeze.
The 399-foot Polar Star is nearly 40-years old and the nation’s only heavy icebreaker capable of operating in the thick Antarctic ice.