The following blog post is the first in a series highlighting MSC’s role in Operation Deep Freeze (ODF) 2016. The purpose of ODF is to provide logistical support to the U.S. Antarctic Program via Department of Defense assets. MSC has supported ODF since McMurdo Station was established in 1955, providing supplies and fuel to scientists operating from the remote base.
Military Sealift Command chartered ships MV Ocean Giant and MT Maersk Perry are making their way to the remote base at McMurdo Station Antarctica for the start of the 2016 Operation Deep Freeze resupply mission.
Operations began in late December, with the load out of dry cargo onto Ocean Giant in Port Hueneme, Calif. The ship departed California with 409 pieces of cargo with an additional 45 pieces of cargo expected during a scheduled stop in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Ocean Giant is scheduled to arrive at the Antarctica base’s ice-pier Jan. 23, and will begin offloading its 454 pieces of cargo. Members of Navy Cargo Handling Battalion One, already on station, will work around-the-clock offloading the nearly 7 million pounds of supplies such as frozen and dry food stores, building materials, vehicles, and electronic equipment and parts; 80 percent of the materials needed by the personnel at McMurdo Station winter over period. Following its off load, Ocean Giant will be loaded with ice core samples that will be stored on the ship in sub-zero freezer containers. The ice core samples will be delivered to the United States for scientific study. In addition, retrograde cargo will be loaded onto the ship for transportation off the continent. These include trash and recyclable materials for disposal and equipment no longer required on the station. Ocean Giant’s journey began in in Port Hueneme, Calif, Dec. 30, where its cargo was loaded. The ship stopped briefly in New Zealand before making the transit to McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. The ship will return to Port Hueneme in early March.
MSC’s second ship, the tanker ship Maersk Perry will arrive at McMurdo station Feb. 2, following transit from Europe through the Suez Canal. The ship will deliver 4.5 million gallons of diesel fuel and 500,000 gallons of jet fuel; 100 percent of the fuel needed for the year. Cargo operations for Maersk Perry are scheduled to complete by Feb, 6.
Operation Deep Freeze is a joint service, on-going Defense Support to Civilian Authorities activity in support of the National Science Foundation (NSF), lead agency for the United States Antarctic Program. Mission support consists of active duty, Guard and Reserve personnel from the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Army, and Coast Guard as well as Department of Defense civilians and attached non-DOD civilians. ODF operates from two primary locations situated at Christchurch, New Zealand and McMurdo Station, Antarctica. 2016 marks the 61st anniversary of the establishment of McMurdo station and its resupply mission which began in 1955. An MSC-chartered cargo ship and tanker have made the challenging voyage to Antarctica every year since the station was established.