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People watch ship come into bay.
Photo Credit: Peter Rejcek

Breaking through

USCG Polar Star reaches McMurdo Station to escort supply, fuels ships

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Polar Star, above, reached McMurdo Station on Jan. 18 (local time) for a one-day port call before returning to McMurdo Sound to continue clearing a channel in the sea ice. The icebreaker arrives each year in January to clear a path in the annual sea ice for cargo and fuel vessels that resupply the research station. Some of the cargo and fuel are also destined for Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, which is resupplied overland by tractor traverse and by air using the LC-130 aircraft. A volunteer team of linehandlers, some of whom are seen above at left, help secure the ships to the pier, which is made of ice and covered in a layer of dirt and rock. In the distance is McMurdo Station and Observation Hill.