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From Rescue to Resupply, These Polar-Class Icebreakers Make Arctic Passage Possible

These Polar-class icebreakers — Polar Star and Polar Sea — are amazing in their design and in their mission capabilities. For those who have never served aboard ship you will be amazed at the complexity of these ships.

The Polar-class icebreakers are capable of air, land, and sea missions in all waters at any time of the year. But they are especially important in the annual mission to bring supplies to McMurdo Sound, the American Antarctic research station. Without the ice-breaking powers of these massive ships, McMurdo Station would not be able to function.

You will see a bit of the history of icebreakers, but the majority of the film is about the Polar-class ships. Though the narration is a bit monotone, this is a fascinating look at a military asset that most people outside of the Seattle area or the U.S Coast Guard know very little about. It is really quite fascinating.

“Without the ice-breaking powers of these massive ships, McMurdo Station would not be able to function.”

The Polar Sea is now out of service, but the Polar Star is currently on its way to open the ice for the resupply of McMurdo Station as I write. It has been to Hawaii already, taking part in the annual memorials related to the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor and is currently in Sydney, Australia. It will be heading to McMurdo soon.

This video will give you a very clear idea of what these ships do and how the crews operate in their various divisions aboard ship, including the air division. You will see what life aboard ship is like and how these young crews maintain and operate these complex, highly engineered vessels. It is really interesting.

We wish the crew of the Polar Star gentle seas and good winds as they go forward on this mission to Antarctica. Semper Paratus to all.

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.