The crewmembers of the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star experienced flooding, an electrical outage, electrical switchboard issues and an incinerator fire, before accomplishing their mission supporting Operation Deep Freeze.
The crew supported the National Science Foundation (NSF) by cutting a resupply channel through 17 miles of Antarctic ice in the Ross Sea to escort a supply vessel to the continent.
The Polar Star crew left Seattle on November 27 to provide help in the annual delivery of operating supplies and fuel for NSF research stations in Antarctica. Operation Deep Freeze is the logistical support provided by the US Armed Forces to the US Antarctic Program.
Polar Star is homeported in Seattle and carries about 150 crewmembers, 1.5 million gallons of fuel and enough food stores to last one year in the ice should it be necessary. It is also 399-feet long, 13,500 tons, 84-feet wide, has a 34-foot draft, 75,000 horse power and has nine engines - six diesels and three jet-turbines.
The ship can break continuously through six feet of ice and up to 21 feet of ice by backing and ramming. Commissioned in 1976, the cutter is 43-years-old.