THE US Military Sealift Command-chartered cargo ship Green Wave, 12,993gt, is seen next to a modular causeway system that was used to unload more than 6.8mn lbs of supplies to the US McMurdo Station in Antarctica between Feb 14 and Feb 24.
The ship was part of Operation Deep Freeze, the annual resupply mission to McMurdo, and she followed the MSC-chartered tanker Maersk Peary, 38,277dwt, which discharged more than 6.3mn gallons of diesel, gasoline and jet fuel at the scientific research station between Jan 28 and Jan 31. An MSC-chartered dry cargo ship and tanker have made the voyage to Antarctica every year since the station was established in 1955.
Although the Maersk Peary and the Green Wave have hulls designed to withstand the pressure of ice, both ships were escorted through a 15-mile ice channel, in places more than 13ft thick, by an icebreaker.
The Green Wave arrived with cargo loaded at Port Hueneme, California in early January. Normally, the MSC cargo ship unloads at a 500ft long ice pier that juts out from the Antarctic coast. This year, unfavourable weather conditions made the ice pier at McMurdo unusable for dry cargo operations.
So, the Green Wave carried a disassembled modular causeway system from the US Army’s 331st Transportation Company and Army personnel spent three days assembling the interlocking pieces of the causeway and powered modular warping tugs, which were craned off the ship individually.