The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star sits moored at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, Jan. 19, 2018. The crew of the Seattle-based Polar Star was on deployment to Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze 2018, the U.S. military’s contribution to the National Science Foundation-managed U.S. Antarctic Program. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Nick Ameen.

Operation Deep Freeze: Arrival to McMurdo

The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star’s commanding officer gives insight on what made the Operation Deep Freeze 2018 mission a success. Through dedication and devotion to duty, the crew once again accomplished their mission breaking ice and creating a navigable channel through the Antarctic to National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station.


Petty Officer 1st Class Eric Hëyob, a boatswain’s mate and ice pilot, navigates Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star through ice during Operation Deep Freeze 2018, Jan. 31, 2018. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Nick Ameen.

Operation Deep Freeze: Ice pilots

The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star is only one of two cutters in the service with qualified ice pilots aboard. Ice pilots are responsible for navigating the ship through different types of ice. On their way to Antarctica, ice pilots will first negotiate pack ice—large pieces of floating ice—before reaching the fast ice, which extends out from the shore and is attached to it.


The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star breaks ice in McMurdo Sound near Antarctica, Jan. 10, 2018. The crew of the Seattle-based Polar Star is on its way to Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze 2018, the U.S. military’s contribution to the National Science Foundation-managed U.S. Antarctic Program. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Nick Ameen.

Operation Deep Freeze: A military operation

The capabilities of the United States military can assist scientific researchers discover more about our planet. One peacetime mission assisting in that realm is Operation Deep Freeze. Operation Deep Freeze is one of the military’s most challenging peacetime missions, as the environment in which the mission is conducted is harsh. Negotiating the frozen seas of the Antarctic region requires specialized equipment and skills, which is where the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star comes in.


Geotraces 2015: Semester at sea

Fifty scientists joined the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Healy during the cutter’s most recent mission, including several world-renowned researchers in the fields of oceanography, chemistry, and biology. Considering the science party onboard, the rich waters below, and the sea birds punctuating the skies above, one would be hard pressed to find a more ideal location for an oceanography course.


Heading south for the winter

Heading south for the winter: The ultimate Polar plunge

Only a small fraction of the world’s population will ever have the opportunity to visit one of the most remote places on earth. Of that small group, an even smaller contingent actually performs their duties below the frozen surface in support of science that has the potential to benefit the entire planet.


Heading south for winter: 26 people rescued trapped in Antarctic ice

The 157 crewmembers of the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star departed the U.S. Antarctic Program’s McMurdo Station Feb. 9, 2015 after successfully completing the surface vessel portion of Operation Deep Freeze 2015, which provided military logistical support to the National Science Foundation-managed U.S. Antarctic Program…


Cutter Polar Star breaking ice

Headed south for the winter: Icebreaking 101

Simple physics explains the process of icebreaking: two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time. The 150-person crew of Polar Star uses that principle to open the channel for cargo and fuel ships to deliver vital supplies to the scientists and support personnel at McMurdo Station as part of Operation Deep Freeze.


Heading south for the winter: Engineers keep a venerable cutter underway

Without them, the ship goes nowhere. The 93 members of the engineering department aboard Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star are responsible for the propulsion, steering, electrical, sewage, ventilation, firefighting and damage control systems on board the heavy icebreaker supporting the U.S. Antarctic Program through Operation Deep Freeze 2015.


Polar Star

Headed south for the winter: Coast Guard Cutter begins journey to Antarctica

More than 150 Coast Guard men and women embarked on a journey that would take them to the bottom of the world Nov. 30, 2014; bound for a place only a small fraction of the world’s population will ever see. The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star from Seattle is on an expedition to Antarctica in support of the United States Antarctic Program, which is managed by the National Science Foundation.


The Polar Star is the U.S. Coast Guard’s only active heavy polar icebreaker. The ship is 399 feet in length, its maximum speed is 18 knots and it is able to continuously break six feet of ice at three knots and 21 feet of ice backing and ramming. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star to assist vessels in Antarctica

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star is responding to a Jan. 3rd request from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, AMSA, to assist the Russian-Flagged Akademik Shokalskiy and Chinese-Flagged Xue Long that are reportedly ice-bound in the Antarctic. The Russian and Chinese Governments have also requested assistance from the United States.


Next Page »