NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
4201 Wilson Boulevard
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA 22230
OFFICE OF POLAR PROGRAMS
MAY 09 2012
We are writing to keep you apprised of the situation regarding icebreaker support that is needed for maintaining the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP). In September 2011, the National Science Foundation (NSF) chartered the diesel icebreaker Vladimir lgnatyuk from the Murmansk Shipping Company to support the break-in and resupply of McMurdo Station. We were recently informed that the lgnatyuk will not be available to support the USAP during the 2012-2013 and future Antarctic research seasons.
During the 2011-2012 season, OPP successfully completed work on a multi-year effort to improve fuel supplies and energy conservation for the USAP. As a result, sufficient fuel is on hand at McMurdo Station to allow the USAP to continue operations through February 2014 at a somewhat reduced operating level, should that be necessary.
The NSF Office of Polar Programs is actively examining program ramifications and developing options to maintain our operating capabilities in support of planned USAP activities.
We will endeavor to keep you apprised of all significant developments as they occur. Your best source of information will be your NSF program manager or your USAP support organization, but we will also distribute updated information when available via the USAP web site (http://www.usap.gov).
Scott Borg Director, Division of Antarctic Science Office of Polar Programs
Brian Stone Director, Division of Antarctic Infrastructure and Logistics Office of Polar Programs