MV Ocean Giant Delivers Cargo in Support of Operation Deep Freeze 2017

The following blog post is the second in a series highlighting MSC’s role in Operation Deep Freeze (ODF) 2017. 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 container ship MV Ocean Giant is currently conducting cargo offloads at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, in support of MSC’s annual resupply mission in support of Operation Deep Freeze, the annual Joint Task Force Support for Antarctica mission to resupply the remote scientific outpost.

Ocean Giant, arrived at the remote Antarctica base’s ice-pier Jan. 24, with 550  pieces of cargo of 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 for the winter over period.  The ship was met by members of Navy Cargo Handling Battalion One who are working around-the-clock offloading the cargo

Military Sealift Command chartered ship, MV Ocean Giant conducts cargo offload operations at the ice-pier at McMurdo Station, Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze 2017.

Military Sealift Command chartered ship, MV Ocean Giant conducts cargo offload operations at the ice-pier at McMurdo Station, Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze 2017.


In years past, temperatures at McMurdo Station have hovered in the single digits and below zero DAILY. The icy winds from Mt Erebus, known to be the coldest place on earth, blew upwards of 20 knots or more, making for long, bone chilling days.   This year, the weather condition on the remote continent, have been exceptional, with temperatures near freezing and low winds.  According to Larry Larsson, MSC’s representative at McMurdo Station, a slight change in scheduling has also played a positive role in cargo operations.  Unlike year’s past, this season the challenge isn’t the weather, but keeping the cargo offload on schedule without injuries.

“In the past couple of years, National Science Foundation started bringing in the cargo ship first before the tanker. The ice pier is pristine condition this year, so it’s in great shape for cargo ops,” explained Larsson. “The biggest challenge hasn’t been the weather, it’s been the challenge to have the cargo operation completed on schedule and with no injuries. In past years the cargo operations were delayed by 2-3 personnel injuries and halted due to high winds. This year all goals have been met and no one has been injured to date.”

Following its off load, Ocean Giant will be loaded with retrograde cargo for transportation off the continent, including ice core samples carried back to the United States in sub-zero freezer containers, as well as trash and recyclable materials for disposal and equipment no longer required on station.

“This is the first year that cargo ops were completed in 7 days,” said Larsson.  “The weather has been very calm which has provided the Navy Cargo Handlers a great working environment.”

Ocean Giant began its journey in Port Hueneme, Calif., Dec. 30, 2015. The ship stopped briefly in New Zealand before making the transit to McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.  Ocean Giant is the first of two MSC chartered ships supporting ODF 2016.   The tanker ship MV Maersk Peary will arrive this week with nearly 3.5 million gallons of diesel fuel, jet fuel and gasoline; 100 percent of the fuel needed for the year.

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.



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