Coast Guard icebreaker visits Palmer Station for first time in 35 years
The visit was an opportunity for the vessel to see Palmer’s new pier and interact with station personnel on its way back to the United States.
Posted March 10, 2023
The U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Star journeyed to Palmer Station this month for the first time since 1988, a visit that further solidifies the decades-long relationship between the Coast Guard and the U.S. Antarctic Program.
Photo Credit: Jon English
Members of the Coast Guard mingle with Palmer Station staff on the station’s newly-built pier during a visit of the Polar Star to the station in March 2023.
The Polar Star regularly visits McMurdo Station, Antarctica during the austral summer to cut a path through the sea ice for cargo ships and fuel tankers to resupply the station. Coast Guard ships don’t often visit Palmer Station, which is located on the Antarctic Peninsula more than 2,000 miles away from McMurdo. The Polar Star’s recent stop at Palmer was an opportunity for the icebreaking vessel to see Palmer’s new pier and interact with station personnel on its way back to the United States via South America.
The visit was also an opportunity to refresh the Coast Guard on the full scope and range of U.S. Antarctic Program activities on the southernmost continent. The Coast Guard is developing new Polar Security Cutters to replace its current icebreaking fleet, and these ships will be vital in supporting USAP activities on and around Antarctica.
As the U.S. Antarctic Program looks to the future of its research vessel operations, partnerships with the Coast Guard and other foreign National Antarctic Programs will continue to play a strong role in the program’s operations.