MSC Chartered Ship MV Ocean Giant Conducts Cargo Operations At McMurdo Station Antarctic in Support of Operation Deep Freeze 2023
31 January 2023
PORT HUENEME, Calif. --
Military Sealift Command-chartered container ship MV Ocean Giant is currently conducting cargo offloads in one of the most remote and challenging environments on the planet; McMurdo Station, Antarctica. The operation is part of MSC’s annual resupply mission in support of Operation Deep Freeze, the Joint Task Force Support for Antarctica mission to resupply the remote scientific outpost.
Seabees from Navy Cargo Handling Battalion ONE (NCHB -1) and NCHB 5 are working around-the-clock offloading the cargo which consists of 443 pieces of cargo, which include containers filled with mechanical parts, vehicles, construction materials, office supplies and electronics equipment and vehicles. The supplies will provide nearly 80 percent of the items needed for survival over the severe arctic winter over period when the station is cutoff from the rest of the world. The Cargo Handlers work with Ocean Giant’s crew, and the MSC representative, to execute a safe and efficient offload and backload of a variety of cargo, as well as with the Antarctic Support Contract logistics team who manage the loads and stow plans for United States Antarctic Program, as well as the New Zealand Defense Force who assist with rigging and transporting loads from the pier to designated laydown areas.
Ocean Giant’s mission began in late December in Port Hueneme, Calif., where the ship was loaded with cargo. From Port Hueneme, the ship sailed to Lyttelton, New Zealand where they took on additional cargo and then transited to Antarctica.
In years past, Ocean Giant would have arrived at the ice-pier at McMurdo Station; a structure made up of rebar and frozen seawater, where cargo offloads were conducted. Due sever damage, the ice-pier was unavailable this year, so Ocean Giant delivered a Marine Causeway System. The 65-ton pier consists of ten, 24 foot, pre-assembled pieces. Six string units were assembled on deck placed into the water and then and joined into two sections. These sections were attached to the others to form the final pier.
Upon completion of their cargo offload, Ocean Giant will load containers of retrograde as well as ice-core samples for scientific study, and return to Port Hueneme.
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 missions were established in 1955.