Ocean Giant delivers supplies to Antarctica
The general cargo vessel Ocean Giant, chartered by Military Sealift Command (MSC), the United States (US) Navy’s civilian-crewed naval auxiliary fleet has delivered cargo to McMurdo Station, Antarctica.
McMurdo Station in Antarctica is one of the planet’s most remote and challenging environments. It is located on Ross Island, which is also claimed by New Zealand. This research station is operated by the United States Antarctic Program (USAP) and is one of three year-round United States Antarctic science facilities. It is the largest community in Antarctica and can support up to 1,200 residents.
To support its residents, this remote scientific outpost needs to be regularly resupplied. The Ocean Giant operation is part of Military Sealift Command (MSC)’s annual resupply mission in support of Operation Deep Freeze, the Joint Task Force Support for Antarctica mission to resupply the station. The supplies being brought to the station included 443 pieces of cargo, consisting of mechanical parts, construction materials, office supplies, electronics equipment, and vehicles.
The supplies will provide nearly 80% of the items needed for survival over the severe arctic winter when the station is cut off from the rest of the world. These supplies were offloaded by Navy Cargo Handling Battalion ONE (NCHB -1) and NCHB 5. The Causeway Pier for the offload was assembled by the 331st Transportation Company of the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary).
The Ocean Giant was built in 2023, and sails under the US flag. It has Houston, Texas, as a home port. With a length of 166.19 metres and a width of 23.28 metres, the vessel has a gross tonnage of 15,549 tonnes. The vessel left New Zealand on 18 February 2023 and is now headed for Port Hueneme, about 100 kilometres north of Los Angeles, California.
This vessel was only able to reach Antarctica, thanks to the Coast Guard cutter Polar Star, the United States only heavy icebreaker. According to the US Department of Defence (DoD), “The Polar Star plays a key role in Deep Freeze, breaking a navigable channel through miles of ice up to 21 feet thick to allow fuel and supply ships to reach McMurdo Station, the U.S. Antarctic Program’s logistics hub and largest station.”