On Saturday, crew members of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star and various scientists are planning to embark on a journey from Seattle to Antarctica for Operation Deep Freeze, a mission to replenish the National Science Foundation’s U.S. Antarctic stations.
They are expected to leave Saturday afternoon and make the annual trek with the help of Polar Star, America’s only heavy icebreaker able to carve out a path through ice as thick as 21 feet.
They plan to replenish ships with fuel and supplies to reach McMurdo Station, the biggest Antarctic station and the U.S. Antarctic Program’s logistics base.
To keep its presence in the polar regions, the Coast Guard is looking to invest in its polar icebreaker fleet and is looking at ways to expand its infrastructure at Base Seattle to accommodate a growing fleet of icebreakers.
Expanding the fleet would “ensure access to the Polar Regions, project U.S. sovereignty, and to protect the country’s economic, environmental and national security interests,” according to the agency.