MSC Ships Deliver Supplies to Antarctic Research Station

Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Photo Credit: Lt. Sean Spicer, USN.

Military Sealift Command dry cargo ship MV American Tern transfers fuel to Swedish icebreaker Oden at McMurdo Station in Antarctica Feb. 11. One of two MSC ships to travel to McMurdo this month, American Tern arrived at the research station's ice pier Feb. 8 and delivered 12m lbs. of equipment and supplies.

MSC ice-strengthened tanker USNS Lawrence H. Gianella was at McMurdo Jan. 28 - Feb. 3 delivering nearly 6 million gallons of fuel to power the station's generators, vehicles, helicopters and research boats. MSC ships deliver more than 70 percent of the supplies and equipment and 100 percent of the fuel that the station receives each year.

Military Sealift Command (MSC) dry cargo ship MV American Tern left the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station in Antarctica after delivering a year’s worth of equipment and stores as part of Operation Deep Freeze, the research station’s annual replenishment of supplies. MSC ice-strengthened tanker USNS Lawrence H. Gianella also participated in the operation.

Gianella arrived at McMurdo’s ice pier Jan. 28 and delivered nearly 6 million gallons of fuel to power the station’s generators, vehicles, helicopters and research boats before departing Feb. 3. American Tern arrived Feb. 8 and, as soon as its brow dropped, 59 Sailors from a Navy cargo handling battalion began working around the clock to offload 12 million pounds of equipment and supplies for the 1,500 researchers and support personnel who work on the continent each year.

MSC delivers more than 70 percent of the dry cargo and 100 percent of fuel that is taken to the continent each year. Equally important, however, is the cargo that MSC takes off of the continent. This year nearly 5 million pounds of items ranging from precious ice core samples to all the waste that McMurdo Station has accumulated over the past year were loaded onto American Tern before it departed.

On its last day in port, American Tern successfully transferred fuel to the Swedish icebreaker Oden, which arrived in the area in advance of the two MSC ships and broke a channel through about 18 miles of ice that blocked the ships’ access to McMurdo.

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