NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The Military Sealift Command chartered heavy lift ship MV Ocean Giant departed Naval Station Norfolk in support of Pacer Goose 2017, the annual resupply mission to Thule Air Base, July 16.
Ocean Giant spent three days at the naval station loading equipment and supplies destined for the remote U.S. Air Force base, located in the northern coastal Arctic region of Greenland.
"Ocean Giant is going to deliver the goods needed for the air base to operate," said Capt. Timothy Arey, Ocean Giant's master. "We are going to sail through the ice and the cold to get them what they need and take away the items which are no longer needed at Thule."
Operation Pacer Goose is one of the Arctic outpost's few sources of food, spare parts and other manufactured goods needed each year.
Even though the temperature will be freezing, summer is the only time of year that the ice is thin enough to break through, added Arey.
Ocean Giant is going to rendezvous with the oil tanker MT Maersk Peary, which is loaded with fuel for Thule. The two ships will follow a Canadian icebreaker through the ice and into the air base's harbor. The ships taking part in the mission also remove all of the base's solid waste and non-repairable equipment for return to the United States.
"Ocean Giant is a beautiful ship and has the ability to transport a wide variety of cargo," said Arey. "The ship is also a great fit for this mission because it is double hulled to handle the ice and is extremely maneuverable. Additionally, the ship has its own cranes so it can load and offload cargo independently."
Ocean Giant left Norfolk loaded with 100 shipping containers full of supplies, modular buildings and four K-Loads, which are used to load and offload military cargo aircraft.
Ocean Giant is crewed by 19 civilian merchant marines who perform all the operations aboard the vessel including navigation, engineering, medical care and line handling.
"Ocean Giant's merchant marines run lean and mean," said Arey. "Because of the size of the crew, our mariners tend to wear a lot of hats. Our crew multi-tasks lots of different jobs which keeps the ship running efficiently."
"Merchant marines have a proud history of service to the United States," said Arey. "During WWII, civilian mariners did their part in support of the war effort and we are very proud to be supporting the military by delivering supplies to Thule."
MV Ocean Giant is owned by Ocean Marine and crewed by SeaBulk Fleet Management.
"Ocean Giant performs a lot of work for the U.S. military," concluded Arey. "We are really excited about this mission and feel very privileged to be a part of it."
Ocean Giant supports a variety of military missions including resupplying Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Yokohama, Japan.
Pacer Goose, The annual operation to resupply Thule, began in 1952 using U.S. Navy combatant ships to transport goods equipment and materials to the remote military base.
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