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U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFFC)

Military Sealift Command Chartered Ships Arrive at Halfway Points in Journey to McMurdo Station Antarctica in Support of Operation Deep Freeze 2024

by Sarah Cannon
11 January 2024

Two Military Sealift Command chartered ships have arrived at the halfway points in their journeys to journey to McMurdo Station, Antarctica and their support of the annual resupply mission to McMurdo Station, Antarctica; Operation Deep Freeze 2024.

MV Ocean Gladiator has arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand. Their journey began in Port Hueneme, Calif., where they conducted a loadout of 407 pieces of cargo, consisting of containers filled with mechanical parts, vehicles, construction materials, office supplies and electronics equipment, and mobile office units; supplies needed for the year’s survival at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. The loadout was coordinated by Military Sealift Command Pacific and members of MSC’s Expeditionary Port Unit 114.

While New Zealand, Ocean Gladiator will load additional cargo, and will then depart for the ice-pier at McMurdo Station, where members of Navy Cargo Handling Battalion ONE will conduct the offload. Before departing McMurdo station, Ocean Gladiator 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.

Tanker ship MT Acadia Trader has arrived in Pago Pago, American Samoa. The ship’s journey began at the British Petroleum Refinery, Cherry Point, in Ferndale, Wash., where the ship was loaded with over 7 million gallons of a special blend of diesel fuel mixed specifically for Antarctica called AN8; 1.5 million gallons of aviation fuel; and 155 thousand gallons of gasoline; 100 percent of the fuel needed for two years at the remote outpost. Acadia Trader will follow Ocean Gladiator at the McMurdo Station ice-pier.

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. An MSC-chartered cargo ship and tanker have made the challenging voyage to Antarctica every year since the station and its resupply mission were established in 1955.


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