Mission: Operation Deep Freeze
Aim: To supply the National Science Foundation outpost at McMurdo Station, Antarctica with a year’s supply of fuel.
Status Quo: We made it through the pack ice.
Sailing onboard Maersk Peary is harsh, unpredictable and infamously rugged.
As Senior Ice Master Hatton makes his way to McMurdo Sound in Antarctica there are never ending obstacles to overcome.
And while it may not look like summer from the images, Operation Deep Freeze is only carried out during Antarctica’s summer months of January and February.
Over the past few days, low quality satellite imagery - a result of being at the bottom of the globe - has caused delays in the journey.
According to Senior Ice Master Hatton, “The Polar View images leave out much of the ice, so we still have to maneuver to find leads which results in a much slower advance.”
One saving grace though is the search light on the bow, which is greatly improving navigation. Hatton is also hoping to get the infrared camera, which will further improve the course plotting.
When outside conditions are so extreme, a Senior Ice Master must rely a great deal on his equipment as weather conditions prevent his crew from being on the deck for long periods.
“There are times when we need someone on the bow, but it is just too cold for a seaman to stand up there for long,” says Hatton.
Despite the obstacles, Maersk Peary looks set to arrive in McMurdo Sound on schedule with the ice channel and berth ready.
Navigating through ice and dodging icebergs is no “typical” captains job, but this is no “typical” shipping job. This is the life of a Senior Ice Master.
Stay tuned to Operation Deep Freeze.
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