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OPP 09-001 November 2008

Support Operations, 2008-2009

  1. Ships (research and support)

    1. RV Nathaniel B. Palmer, length 94 meters, icebreaker, purpose-built in 1992 for long-term charter to U.S. Antarctic Program.1 The ship supports research throughout the Southern Ocean the year-round. 
    2. RV Laurence M. Gould, 71 meters, ice-strengthened, purpose-built in 1997 for long-term charter to U.S. Antarctic Program (replaces RV Polar Duke, chartered 1984-1997).2 Year-round research and Palmer Station support.
    3. Polar Sea, 122 meters, U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker.3
    4. Annual summer channel break-in to McMurdo and some summer-season research support.
    5. Oden, 107.8 meters, Swedish Maritime Administration with the annual summer channel break-in to McMurdo and escort of the Tern and the tanker.4
    6. American Tern, 159 meters, Military Sealift Command chartered ice-classed cargo ship.5
    7. Annual cargo delivery to and waste retrograde from McMurdo.
    8. Tanker, Military Sealift Command (MSC) chartered. Annual fuel delivery to McMurdo.

  2. Runways (wheeled operations near McMurdo)

    1. McMurdo Sound (78°S), annual sea ice, October to December
    2. Pegasus (78°S), prepared glacial ice; previously not used in the warmer summer months, this runway was groomed for year-round use in 2001.

  3. Skyways (ski operations only)

    1. Williams Field (78°S), near McMurdo, available year-round
    2. South Pole (90°S)
    3. Open field (various locations)

End Notes
5 (MSC announcement); (American Maritime Officer news item)