Maritime Monday for May 27th, 2013: Hard Water Sailing

Monkey Fist
Total Views: 24
May 26, 2013


Belgian Antarctic Expedition
(1117 x 738)
Grosvenor Philatelic Auctions


Der Eisbrecher Stettin im Nord-Ostsee Kanal (Kiel Canal)
(4,320 × 3,240 pixels)
Launched:  7 September 1933 – Out of service:  1981

Steam icebreaker built by the shipyard Stettiner Oderwerke in 1933. For the first time in Germany, the construction was characterized by a novel new design called Runeberg-bow. It was not broken by the weight of the ship but by a sharp cutting edge.  Stettin was able to break ice up to a thickness of half a meter, at a constant speed of one to two knots.

Diesel-engines, already in wide use by 1933, were not chosen. Unlike diesel engines, steam piston engines can be reversed within a very short period of approximately 3 to 4 seconds, making the ship more maneuverable in icy conditions.

The icebreakers of Stettin were handled by a company which ran a seaside resort ferry service during the summer.  Its other ships had similar engines, so a single crew of 22 men could be employed year round.

On the night of 8 April 1940, Stettin participated in the capture of Copenhagen by participating in a surprise landing of German troops in Copenhagen together with the railway ferry/minelayer Hansestadt Danzig.

Today, she is a technical culture monument. Her homeport is the museum port of Oevelgoenne in Hamburg, Germany. During summertime, Stettin cruises with passengers. +



VIDEO: German ice-breaker Stettin opens river to navigation

see also: Nazi Arctic Bases Captured 1945
USCG blasts away pack ice to reach Nazi radio stations in Greenland


Grosvenor Philatelic Auctions
(1118 × 750)

The Belgian Antarctic Expedition of 1897 to 1899 was the first expedition to winter in the Antarctic region.

In 1896, Adrien de Gerlache purchased the Norwegian-built whaling ship Patria, which, following an extensive refit, was renamed Belgica.

With a multinational crew, which included Roald Amundsen, Frederick Cook and Henryk Arctowski, they set sail from Antwerp on 16 August 1897. After charting and naming several islands during some 20 separate landings, they crossed the Antarctic Circle on 15 February 1898.



Cook, at left, with Roald Amundsen, ca. 1898

“We are imprisoned in an endless sea of ice… We have told all the tales, real and imaginative, to which we are equal. Time weighs heavily upon us as the darkness slowly advances.”

Several weeks later, on 17 May, total darkness set in, which lasted until 23 July.

Frederick Cook: A Digital Exhibition:
Belgian Antarctic Expedition (1897 – 1899)
Ohio State University Libraries


Royal Penguin in the ice by the Belgica

South Pole Belgian Antarctic Expedition
on Digital History Project


Fred Wolff —Popular Science — August 1971
expository schematic perspective (1368 x 1038)

Operation Deep Freeze

Codename for a series of United States missions to Antarctica, beginning with Operation Deep Freeze I in 1955–56, and owing to the continued US presence in that area, it has come to be used as a general term for US operations in that continent, and in particular for the regular missions to resupply US Antarctic bases, coordinated by the United States military.

Equipment garage, McMurdo Station
Operation Deep Freeze; Antarctica, 1963

See also:
Packing the Runway, Friendly Neighbors, McMurdo Station 1963,
All dressed up and no place to go, Antarctica Navy Station 1963, Open Wide!

Navy Art Gallery exhibit: Antarctica: Operation Deep Freeze I: 1955-56


USCGC Westwind; First Trip to the Arctic
on Coast Guard Stories

USCGC Westwind (WAGB-281)Wind-class  heavily armed icebreaker that served in the United States Coast Guard as USCGC Westwind (WAG-281), the Soviet Navy as the Severni Polius, and again in the U.S. Coast Guard as Westwind.

Launched on 31 March 1943, her hull was of unprecedented strength and structural integrity, with a relatively short length. 1945: 21 February: Transferred to Soviet Union under the Lend-lease program and renamed. Returned to the USCG in 1951.

Decommissioned  28 February, 1988. Final disposition is unknown. +


USCGC Southwind

The Wind-class icebreakers were a line of diesel electric-powered icebreakers in service with the United States Navy, United States Coast Guard, Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Coast Guard and Soviet Navy from 1944 through the late 1970s. All except Eastwind served at least thirty years,  Northwind serving in the USCG continuously for forty-four years.

Considered the most technologically advanced icebreakers in the world when first built, the Wind-class icebreakers were also heavily armed. The “Winds” were the first class of true icebreakers built by the United States with input from the Coast Guard’s Naval Engineering Division.

State of the art when designed, their hulls were of unprecedented strength,  their bows had the characteristic sloping forefoot that enabled her to ride up on heavy ice (as much as 13 foot) and break it with the weight of the vessel.

The sides of the icebreaker were rounded, which enabled the ship to break free from ice by heeling from side to side., which was accomplished by shifting water rapidly from wing tanks on one side of the ship to the other. A total of 220 tons of water could be moved from one side to the other in as little as 90 seconds. Ballast could also be shifted rapidly between fore and aft tanks to change the trim of the ship.

Crew: 21 officers, 295 enlisted.  Other ships in this fleet were the USCGC Staten Island (WAGB-278), the USCGC Burton Island (WAGB-283), the USCGC Edisto (WAGB-284), and the CCGS Labrador.


USCGC Staten Island


269-ft., 6,515 ton U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker EASTWIND rips open a channel through frozen McMurdo Sound for cargo ships carrying personnel, equipment, and supplies for scientific stations. (full size)

The Eastwind became the first cutter to ever circumnavigate the globe.  She departed Boston on 25 October 1960, transited the Panama Canal, crossed the Pacific Ocean, visited New Zealand and then participated in Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica.  She sailed home via the Indian Ocean, Suez Canal, the Mediterranean Sea, through the Straits of Gibraltar, and arrived back at Boston in May, 1961. +


1 May – 19 September 1952
ALERT Weather Station; Dumb Bell Bay
Coast Guard Stories

USCGC Eastwind (WAGB-279)Wind-class icebreaker built  by Western Pipe and Steel Company, San Pedro, California, for the USCG. Launched: 3 June 1944; completed in time to see action in World War II, she continued in USCG service under the same name until decommissioned in 1968.


View of Eastwind, taken from launch dispatched from the Northwind
Disko Island, Greenland

imageInitially it was assigned to the fleet in charge of resupplying the allied bases in Greenland, and was one of the two icebreakers that participated in World War II.  After the end of the war, the Eastwind returned to his supplying tasks on the US Arctic stations serving several military and scientific programs.

During one of those trips in 1952, the ship served as platform to launch several smalls stratospheric balloons under the scientific guidance of the famous scientist James Van Allen, then working at the University of Iowa in a joint project with the Navy to launch small research rockets from balloons in the stratosphere. +  (more on

rt: Completely restored poster of the USCGC EASTWIND available for purchase on Coast Guard Cool Stuff

more on the Eastwind Association


USCG sailors raise the US Ensign aboard KMS Externsteine while she was stuck in the ice off Greenland after being captured by the Coast Guard

imageUSS Callao (IX-205) –  unclassified miscellaneous vessel built in 1943 and 1944 by P. Smit, Jr. Shipyard, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, as Externsteine for the Kriegsmarine; originally named for the unusual Externsteine rock formation investigated by Heinrich Himmler for evidence of cultural significance to early Teutonic folklore and history.

Employed as a weather observation ship off Shannon Island on the northeast coast of Greenland to aid forecasting of storm events tactically significant to North Atlantic and European combat operations, but was captured on the night of 15 October–16 October 1944 by USCGC Eastwind.

At the time, it was the northernmost combat operation ever undertaken by United States forces. Decommissioned on 10 May 1950, and sold 30 September 1950. +


GMC Webster USCG, christens the German armed trawler KMS Externsteine as the Coast Guard ship USCGC Eastbreeze, while the trawler was stuck in the ice off Greenland after being captured by the Coast Guard in October 1944 +

Arctic Combat: The Capture of the German Naval Auxiliary Externsteine
by the Coast Guard Icebreakers Eastwind & Southwind in Greenland, 1944


catapult of the Schwabenland

Hitler on Ice: Did the Nazis Have a Secret Antarctic Fortress?

Beginning in 1938, long before the end of the Second World War, the Nazi’s commenced to send out numerous exploratory missions to the Queen Maud region of Antarctica. Over 230,000 square miles of the frozen continent were mapped from the air, and the Germans discovered vast regions that were surprisingly free of ice.

A German Polar researcher reveals that the historical beginnings of German interest and research into the Antarctic or South Polar region itself began in 1873 when Sir Eduard Dallman, on behalf of the newly founded German Society of Polar Research, discovered new Antarctic routes with his ship GROENLAND, the first steamship to see the Antarctic.

Within the next 60 years 2 further expeditions took place, one in 1910 under Wilhelm Filchner with his ship DEUTSCHLAND; and again in 1925 with the specialy designed polar expedition ship, the METEOR.

Hitler was anxious for a foothold in the Antarctic, and during the years before WWII the Germans claimed hegemony over parts of Antarctica and the wish to possess [their] own base grew stronger…

Command over a strike attack was given to the polar-experienced Captain Alfred Ritscher, who had already led some expeditions to the North Pole and had proven himself courageous and skillful in critical situations. The selected ship was the MS SCHWABENLAND, a German aircraft carrier in use since 1934 for transatlantic mail delivery.

keep reading

seriously though,
New Swabia and The German Antarctic Expedition
on wikipedia


Mackinaw in Greys Reef Passage

USCGC Mackinaw (WAGB-83) – 290-foot (88 m) vessel specifically designed for ice breaking duties on the Great Lakes. She now serves as a museum ship known as Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum in Mackinaw City, Michigan.

Built specially for the Great Lakes, her design was based on the Wind-class of Coast Guard icebreakers, but she was built wider and longer than the other Wind class vessels so that her draft would be shallower. Laid down on 20 March 1943 at American Ship Building & Drydock Company in Toledo, Ohio; launched (sideways) on 4 March, 1944 and decommissioned 10 June, 2006. Replaced by USCGC Mackinaw (WLBB-30).


Mighty Mackinaw (1024 x 682)

In February 1942, the United States government announced plans to spend an estimated $8 million to build a state-of-the-art icebreaker that was capable of operating in heavy ice. Such a vessel was essential because a longer shipping season was needed to help vessels move vital raw materials on the Great Lakes during World War II.

At the start of the conflict, all available cutters had been called to wartime duty leaving the Great Lakes with no available breakers.  +


USCGC Mackinaw (WAGB-83)
(1024 x 809)

much more on BoatNerd


USCGC Glacier (1017 x 827)


USS Glacier in March 1956

USS Glacier (AGB-4) – First a US Navy, then USCG icebreaker which served in the first through fifteenth Operation Deep Freeze expeditions.  Launched on 27 August 1954 at Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp., Pascagoula, Mississippi. She was in US Navy service for 11 years, and USCG service for 21.

imageGlacier was essentially an improved Wind class icebreaker, larger and more powerful. Capable of breaking ice up to 20 feet (6.1 m) thick, and of continuous breaking of 4-foot (1.2 m) thick ice at 3 knots (5.6 km/h; 3.5 mph).

Glacier’s shakedown cruise and maiden voyage were combined in Operation Deep Freeze I, as flagship for RADM Richard E. Byrd USN, Ret. Breaking through the Ross Ice Pack in December 1955, she carved out an ice harbor in Kainan Bay to allow the discharge of cargo from vessels at the site for Little America V.

She then continued 400 nautical miles (740 km; 460 mi) west to break ice into an off-loading site to establish the U.S. Naval Air Facility at McMurdo Sound. Glacier then surveyed Vincennes Bay in Wilkes Land and made the first landing in history on the Princess Martha and Princess Astrid coasts. Glacier returned to Boston, her home port, on 6 May 1956.

Glacier was first icebreaker to make her way through the frozen Bellingshausen Sea, and most of the topography in the area is named for her crewmembers.


inset: USS Glacier AGB-4  by artist Steve Daniels of Cashier, NC


March 1959:
Belgian Antarctic expedition ship Polarhaf had been hemmed in by the ice for over a month and a half and had drifted over 150 miles. After several days of ramming and pounding the six to fifteen foot ice-pack off Breid Bay, Antarctica, Glacier managed to free her.  (1384 x 1207)

Following 29 Antarctic and 10 Arctic deployments, Glacier was decommissioned in 1987. On 16 February 2012, she was sold for $146,726 to be broken up by ESCO Marine in Brownsville, Texas. +


USS GLACIER in dock at Mare Island

An icebreaker that became the flagship of Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd during his famous Antarctic expedition is being prepared in Mare Island for her final voyage…  +

USS Glacier AGB-4 Association


Follow Me
NavSource: USS Glacier (1955 – 1966)


Canadian Coast Guard CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent
3456 × 2304

One of 2 classed a Heavy Arctic Icebreaker and is the largest icebreaker and flagship of the Canadian Coast Guard. Built in 1969 by Canadian Vickers Limited in Montreal, Quebec. Based at CCG Base St. John’s in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

The vessel’s current operation tempo consists of summer voyages to Canada’s Arctic where she supports the annual Arctic sealift to various coastal communities and carries out multi-disciplinary scientific expeditions. During the winter months, Louis S. St-Laurent sometimes operates in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to aid ships in transiting to Montreal, Quebec, although she usually only serves this assignment during particularly heavy ice years. +

On 22 August 1994 Louis S. St-Laurent and USCGC Polar Sea became the first North American surface vessels to reach the North Pole. +


USCGC Polar Sea (full)

USCGC Polar Sea (WAGB-11) – Commissioned in 1977, the ship was built by Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company of Seattle along with her sister ship, Polar Star.

Polar Sea uses four different methods of electronic navigation to overcome the difficulties of high-latitude operations. Operations in the remote, hazardous and unforgiving polar regions make it necessary for the crew of Polar Sea to be highly self-sufficient.

The crew consists of personnel trained in navigation, engineering, welding, machinery repair, electronics, boat handling, firefighting, damage control, diving, medicine, and nearly every other kind of special skill that could possibly be needed. There is a crew of 24 officers, 20 chief petty officers and 102 enlisted.

Polar Sea also serves as a scientific research platform with five laboratories, additional space for seven portable laboratories on deck and accommodations for up to 35 scientists. She also carries two HH-65 Dolphin helicopters during major deployments. They support scientific parties, do ice reconnaissance, cargo transfer, and search and rescue as required.

In nautical history, Polar Sea holds several notable records. It is one of only three ships that has ever completely transited the Arctic Ocean and circumnavigated North America.

Polar Sea has been out of service since 2010 due to engine failure. +


USCGC Polar Star (WAGB-10); full size

USCGC Polar Star (WAGB-10) -Commissioned in 1976, homeported in Seattle and  operate under the control of the USCG Pacific Area. Polar Star is able to ram her way through ice up to 21 feet (6 m) thick and steam continuously through 6 feet (1.8 m) of ice at 3 knots (6 km/h).

Since Polar Star and Polar Sea were designated primarily as research vessels, the National Science Foundation pays for and runs the United States’ ice breaking vessels, using Coast Guard crews; 15 officers and 126 enlisted.  In 2009, the NSF announced that they would end funding for maintaining the Polar Star. +

Nicknames: Building 10. Polar Spare. Brand X. Wide Ass Government Building. Red Tubs of Fun


CCGS John G. Diefenbaker

The Canadian Coast Guard’s largest and most capable icebreaker, CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, is scheduled for decommissioning in 2017.

CCGS John G. Diefenbaker will be one of the centerpieces of the Government of Canada’s high profile Northern Strategy, which focuses on strengthening Canada’s Arctic sovereignty, economic and social development, governance, and environmental protection. The ship is to be constructed by Seaspan Marine Corporation

It was Diefenbaker’s government that founded the Canadian Coast Guard in 1962. +

The Polar Icebreaker will be capable of operating in Canada’s Arctic farther north and for a longer period of time each year.  It will provide the CCG with increased coverage in the Canadian Arctic and adjacent waters and will be able to operate for three seasons in the Arctic, over a larger area and in more difficult ice conditions. +

The new Polar Icebreaker will be designed to break ice up to 2.5m thick. Although this may exceed the maximum value for ice thickness in the Arctic Ocean in any given year, it will permit the construction of a ship with the strength and capability to operate in conditions such as ridges, rubble fields and pressurized ice.

more on the Canadian Coast Guard website


IJsbreker Arcticaborg betrokken bij reddingsoperatie Kaspische Zee

Arcticaborg – icebreaking platform supply vessel operated by Wagenborg Kazakhstan in the Caspian Sea.

She and her sister ship, Antarcticaborg were built by Kværner Masa-Yards in Helsinki, Finland, in 1998. They are the first icebreakers equipped with Azipods.


Wärtsilä’s new Icepod series of azimuthing thrusters allows for astern icebreaking!!!
Kick ASSSSS!!!!!

Just in time for Christmas, The Icepod!

New Icepod thruster favoured for Caspian and Alaskan operations


British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13
Grosvenor Philatelic Auctions


British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13
Grosvenor Philatelic Auctions

Further Reading:

Alaska & Arctic Operations: A Historic Photo Gallery

NORTH POLE (Dec. 20, 2002) Coast Guard Cutter Healy
only the second US surface ship to reach the North Pole

Including the Ross Sea Dependency, the Sub-Antarctic Islands and sea,
up to New Zealand from the Pole

Polar Travel Dog Sledging

Adventures of the Blackgang on tumblr
(twitter) – (instagram)
Maritime Monday Archives »

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