The U.S. Military Sealift Command (MSC) charter ship SLNC Magothy departed Port Hueneme, California for the remote Antarctica outpost of McMurdo Station, in support of Operation Deep Freeze (ODF) 2020.
Operation Deep Freeze is a joint service, on-going Defense Support to Civilian Authorities (DSCA) activity to resupply the United States Antarctic stations in support of the National Science Foundation (NSF), the lead agency for the U.S. 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.
A total of 566 containers, filled with building materials for an expansion project at the NSF facilities at McMurdo Station, were loaded onto the ship while at Port Hueneme under the watchful eye of Navy reservists from MSC’s Expeditionary Port Unit (EPU) 114.
Magothy is scheduled to stop in Taranga, New Zealand, where the ship will load additional cargo, and then travel to McMurdo Station, where members of Navy Cargo Handling Battalion ONE will offload the ship at a floating causeway being used in lieu of the traditional ice-pier, that was delivered by another MSC chartered ship, MV Ocean Giant. Magothy is one of three MSC chartered ships that will deliver 80% of the supplies and 100% of the fuel needed for the year’s survival at McMurdo Station.
ODF operates from two primary locations situated at Christchurch, New Zealand and McMurdo Station, Antarctica. 2020 marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of McMurdo station and its resupply mission, which began in 1955. 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.
The U.S. Coast Guard’s only heavy icebreaker, USCGC Polar Star (WAGB 10), recently arrived at McMurdo Station following a 58-day transit from the United States.