“Nation’s sole heavy icebreaker to deploy to the Arctic this winter” –News Release

The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star cuts through Antarctic ice in the Ross Sea near a large group of seals as the ship’s crew creates a navigation channel for supply ships, January 16, 2017. The resupply channel is an essential part of the yearly delivery of essential supplies to the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station.US Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley

Below is a press release from Pacific Area, making it official that Polar Star will not make the trip to Antarctica this Winter. Instead they will be going to the Arctic this winter. Winter deployments to the Arctic are unusual, but it is something the Coast Guard expects to do, once the planned fleet of six icebreakers is complete. Really I do not  know if we have ever done this before. It will certainly be a unique experience. Much of the time, there will be no sun at all. 

united states coast guard

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area
Contact: Coast Guard Pacific Area Public Affairs
Office: (510) 437-3375
After Hours: (510) 816-1700
Oct. 29, 2020
D11-DG-M-PACAREA-PA@uscg.mil
Pacific Area online newsroom

Nation’s sole heavy icebreaker to deploy to the Arctic this winter

The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star (WAGB-10) is in the fast Ice Jan. 2, 2020, approximately 20 miles north of McMurdo Station, Antarctica. The 399-foot icebreaker is the only ship in U.S. service capable of clearing a path through the Antarctic ice to escort three refuel and resupply ships to McMurdo Station during Operation Deep Freeze. The ships deliver enough cargo and fuel to sustain year-round operations on the remote continent. U.S. Coast Guard photograph by Senior Chief Petty Officer NyxoLyno Cangemi
The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star (WAGB-10) is in the fast Ice Jan. 2, 2020, approximately 20 miles north of McMurdo Station, Antarctica. The 399-foot icebreaker is the only ship in U.S. service capable of clearing a path through the Antarctic ice to escort three refuel and resupply ships to McMurdo Station during Operation Deep Freeze. The ships deliver enough cargo and fuel to sustain year-round operations on the remote continent. U.S. Coast Guard photograph by Senior Chief Petty Officer NyxoLyno Cangemi


ALAMEDA, Calif. — The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star (WAGB-10) will deploy to the Arctic this winter to help protect the nation’s maritime sovereignty and security in the region. 

The United States is an Arctic nation, and the Coast Guard has served as the lead federal agency for homeland security, safety, and environmental stewardship in the Arctic region for more than 150 years.  As the nation’s primary maritime presence in the polar regions, the Coast Guard advances U.S. national interests through a unique blend of polar operational capability, regulatory authority, and international leadership across the full spectrum of maritime governance.

In April 2019, the Coast Guard released the Arctic Strategic Outlook, which reaffirms the service’s commitment to American leadership in the region through partnership, unity of effort, and continuous innovation.

“The Arctic is no longer an emerging frontier, but is instead a region of growing national importance,” said Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, commander of U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area. “The Coast Guard is committed to protecting U.S. sovereignty and working with our partners to uphold a safe, secure, and rules-based Arctic.”  

Typically, the Polar Star travels to Antarctica each year in support of Operation Deep Freeze, the annual military mission to resupply the United States’ Antarctic stations, in support of the National Science Foundation.

This year’s maritime resupply at McMurdo Station was cancelled due to COVID safety precautions, and a limited resupply will be conducted via aircraft.  However, Operation Deep Freeze is an enduring mission that requires a heavy icebreaker for a full resupply, and the Coast Guard anticipates resuming this critical deployment next year.

6 thoughts on ““Nation’s sole heavy icebreaker to deploy to the Arctic this winter” –News Release

  1. With this season’s McMurdo resupply mission cancelled, I presume the Antarctic station has enough non-airliftable supplies such as fuel to survive until the heavy icebreaker becomes available for break-in sometime in late 2021.

  2. Pingback: “Coast Guard Icebreaker Polar Star Bound for the Arctic in December” –USNI | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

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