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Dream Comes True for Most Powerful Non-Nuclear Icebreaker Ship Captain

Dream Comes True for Most Powerful Non-Nuclear Icebreaker Ship Captain
United States Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star captain Michael Davanzo. Photo: Nacanieli Tuilevuka
March 14
10:00 2018

To be the commanding officer of the United States icebreaker vessel was the father of three’s dream, and he said being selected for the assignment was both a surprise and an honour.

The United States Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star captain Michael Davanzo has overseen two missions to Antarctica since he took command in July, 2016.

The most powerful non-nuclear icebreaker vessel called into the Port of Suva on Tuesday, February 27, 2018.

The icebreaker was recently in Antarctica, where it established a channel through 15 miles of ice in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, sometimes up to 8 feet in thickness, and conducted close-in merchant vessel escorts to McMurdo Station to resupply the United States’ National Science Foundation’s McMurdo and Amundsen-Scott South Pole stations.

Polar Star is based in Seattle and is specially designed for operation in both Polar Regions.These regions are dominated by earth’s polar ice caps, the northern resting on the Arctic Ocean and the southern continent of the Antarctica.

“There’s something about the raw, desolate beauty of Antarctica that moves you,” Davanzo said.

“Operating in those conditions are a great challenge,” the South Caroline citizen said.

“The ice is thick and the wind is cold, and we’re working to break the ice while keeping the crew and the ship safe to complete the mission,” Captain Davanzo said.

Captain Davanzo’s leadership ensures his crew’s proficiency at navigating through the ice of Antarctica.

“The main part of our goal is to establish a track into the ice pier and create a turning basin so we can get the cargo ships from the ice edge to the pier without damaging their ship, and facilitating the safe movement of cargo into McMurdo,” he said.

“The second part of our goal is to not break our ship in the process, because we have to get home. If you’re not careful or if you enter the ice too fast, you can damage the ship. We’re the nation’s only heavy icebreaker, so we have to keep it running for years to come to keep the mission viable.

“The final part of our goal is to train future polar sailors because we need to increase the pool of qualified people,” he said.

Polar Star stopped over in Suva for two days to restock before resuming their trip.

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