LAWRENCE H. GIANELLA

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The "Lawrence H. Gianella" is a United States Military Sealift Command tanker which has been used as the tanker for McMurdo fuel supply a number of times.  Her previous visit to McMurdo was in January 1999.

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The vessel is named for Radio Operator Laurence H. Gianella (shown at left) who was posthumously awarded the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal in 1943 for the heroic action he undertook when his ship was torpedoed on 19th December, 1941 in mid-Pacific. Orders had been given to abandon the rapidly sinking ship but Gianella realising that his shipmates chances of rescue were slim and dependant on him getting out a SOS message stayed on board and rigged an emergency radio set thus sacrificing himself for his shipmates.

The ship's name was incorrectly spelt as Lawrence at its launch in 1986 and has never been corrected.   Photo and details kindly supplied by the Gianella family.

For the 2000-2001 season she was the assigned tanker and arrived on January at McMurdo under escort of the USCG icebreaker "Polar Sea". She departed McMurdo  bound for Lyttelton where she made a short port call mainly to offload further fuel but also to take on fresh supplies of food.

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The view at left shows the "Lawrence H. Gianella" alongside the ice pier at McMurdo with the Icebreaker "Polar Sea" moored alongside.

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GIANELLA 1.    2001 (February 8th) Paquebot cover posted on arrival in Lyttelton.     Price US$5

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GIANELLA 2.   2001 (February 8th) cover posted on arrival in Lyttelton with Ross stamp.   Price US$5


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