The US West Coast Coast Guard has engaged in two long missions, one in support of US Antarctic stations and the other in counter-narcotics operations in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
The first began on November 13 with the departure of the US Coast Guard Cutter North Star from its home port of Seattle; the second began in mid-December in Port Angeles, California, and ended on February 4.
The crew aboard the North Staron his 25and trip to Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze, were to spend January and February breaking ice at McMurdo Station to refuel and refuel ships, then return to the United States West Coast in March.
Upon his return in March, the 46-year-old North Starthe only provider of icebreaking services in the country, will head to the dry dock for maintenance and repair, while crew members will return to the North Staris Seattle’s homeport, Coast Guard officials said.
The annual joint military service mission to resupply United States Antarctic stations in support of the National Science Foundation, lead agency of the United States Antarctic program, began with the cutter’s departure from its homeport from Seattle on November 13.
The 157 crew aboard the 399-foot, 13,000-ton cutter reached Antarctica’s Ross Sea on January 3 and began breaking through the 37 miles of ice in the channel to allow two supply ships to unload over eight million gallons of fuel and 1,000 cargo. containers, providing enough fuel, food and essential supplies to support the Antarctic program until the next sealift in the austral summer of 2023.
The arrival of the icebreaker at McMurdo Station also marked the return of the North Star following the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic. During the 2020-2021 season, North Star led a winter deployment to the Arctic, hiking to the Arctic Circle to be present in high northern latitudes in winter conditions and to train a new generation of polar sailors.
Crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter activemeanwhile, completed a 10,572-mile, 55-day counter-narcotics operations deployment to the eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of Central America and returned to her homeport of Port Angeles, Calif., February 4.
Coast Guard officials said the fight against drug cartels in the Eastern Pacific requires a united effort in all phases, from detection, surveillance and interdictions to criminal prosecution for such interdictions by the bureaus. US prosecutors nationwide.