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Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC)

MSC Chartered Ship MV Ocean Gladiator Departs in Support of Operation Deep Freeze 2024

by Sarah Cannon, Military Sealift Command Pacific
21 December 2023 Military Sealift Command charter ship MV Ocean Gladiator departed Port Hueneme, Calif., today, kicking off their support of their support of the annual resupply mission to McMurdo Station, Antarctica; Operation Deep Freeze 2024.

Since Dec. 13, the 545-foot Ocean Gladiator has been conducting a loadout of 407 pieces of cargo, consisting of containers filled with mechanical parts, vehicles, construction materials, office supplies and electronics equipment, and mobile office units; supplies needed for the year’s survival at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. The loadout was coordinated by Military Sealift Command Pacific and members of MSC’s Expeditionary Port Unit 114.

Following a stop in Christchurch, New Zealand, where the ship will load additional cargo, it will travel to the ice-pier at McMurdo Station, where members of Navy Cargo Handling Battalion ONE will conduct the offload. Before departing McMurdo station, Ocean Gladiator will be loaded with ice core samples that will be stored on the ship in sub-zero freezer containers. The ice core samples will be delivered to the United States for scientific study. In addition, retrograde cargo will be loaded onto the ship for transportation off the continent. These include trash and recyclable materials for disposal and equipment no longer required on the station.

Ocean Gladiator is one of two MSC chartered ships supporting ODF 2023. Tanker ship MT Acadia Trader will follow Ocean Gladiator at the McMurdo Station ice-pier, delivering diesel and aviation fuel to the remote outpost.

Operation Deep Freeze is a joint service, on-going Defense Support to Civilian Authorities activity in support of the National Science Foundation (NSF), lead agency for the United States Antarctic Program. Mission support consists of active duty, Guard and Reserve personnel from the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Army, and Coast Guard as well as Department of Defense civilians and attached non-DOD civilians. ODF operates from two primary locations situated at Christchurch, New Zealand and McMurdo Station, Antarctica. An MSC-chartered cargo ship and tanker have made the challenging voyage to Antarctica every year since the station and its resupply mission were established in 1955.