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Wednesday, 08 February 2023 04:45

US Cargo Ship Delivers New Causeway Along with Supplies to Antarctic

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We began offloading our equipment from the Ocean Giant right away so that we could build the pier where the ice-pier was,” said Staff Sgt. Donald Harris, 7th TB(X) pilot of the pier. The brigade’s role is causeway building and they use the U.S. Army’s modular system which is unique because it has a one-foot draft permitting it to get closer to shore. 

The brigade faced the added challenge of dealing with sheets of ice that litter the harbor and move and spin from the wind. Commanders said it was good training handling ice noting that they had to break ice twice before in 2012 and again in 2020.

The 7th TB(X) joined with the Seabees from Navy Cargo Handling Battalion One who have been working around the clock since Ocean Giant arrived to offload the 443 pieces of cargo. This year’s shipment includes containers filled with mechanical parts, vehicles, construction materials, office supplies, and electronics equipment and vehicles. The supplies will provide nearly 80 percent of the items needed for survival over the severe arctic winter when the station is cut off from the rest of the world.

The cargo handlers work with Ocean Giant’s crew, and the MSC representative, to execute the offload and backload of a variety of cargo. The Antarctic Support Contract logistics team manages the loads and stow plans for the United States Antarctic Program, as well as the New Zealand Defense Force who assist with rigging and transporting loads from the pier to designated laydown areas. Ocean Giant is being joined on this year’s mission by a second cargo ship, Ocean Gladiator (17,700 dwt), which is currently in Lyttelton, New Zealand before departing for McMurdo Station.

Upon completion of their cargo offload, Ocean Giant will load containers of retrograde as well as ice-core samples for scientific study, and return to Port Hueneme. MSC-chartered ships have made the challenging voyage to Antarctica every year since the station and its resupply missions were established in 1955.

 

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