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For the 2002-2003 season the "American Tern" took on the role of  the main American Antarctic supply vessel, replacing the long serving "Green Wave" which was proving both unreliable and too small. The "American Tern" was built in Germany 1990 to Finnish Ice class 1A specifications and has a 50% greater carrying capacity than "Green Wave". The vessel is operated by American Automar which has a contract with the American Military Sealife Command which provides the cargo capacity for the US Antarctic Program. This contract which extends until 2010 also employs the vessel on a supply route to Thule in Greenland. The photo above shows the vessel loading cargo at Port Hueneme before her inaugural Antarctic voyage.

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AMTERN 1.   2003 (January 25th) Envelope with USA stamp posted Paquebot at Lyttelton.  Price US$5

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AMTERN 2.   2003 (January 25th) Envelope with USA stamp posted Paquebot at Lyttelton.  Price US$8

Note: The above cover has been signed on its back by Tim Adams, one of two captains on board the "American Tern" on her inaugural voyage.

It also bears a strike of the vessels official seal as can be seen in the picture at right.

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The picture at right shows "American tern" pushing out from her Lyttelton Berth in the early hours of 25 January, 2003 to commence her inaugural voyage to McMurdo.

The Lyttelton Pilot boatcan be seen passing her to uplift the pilot as soon as the vessel is clear of the harbour.

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Because of heavy ice conditions at McMurdo the vessel was not able to berth until an ice channel had been cleared by the Coast guard icebreaker "Polar Sea".

Until this happened the "American Tern" moored in a crack in the ice pack as shown at right.

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Chief engineer Jim Brown, Captain Tim Adams, Chief Mate Chris Holmgren and 3rd Mate Eric Hall on the ice at American Tern's Bows.

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A close up view with Mount Erebus in the background and the four same people as listed at left.

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AMTERN 3.   2003 (February 14th) Postcard  with USA stamp posted at McMurdo Station.  Price US$5

The American Tern finally made it to the Ice Wharf as shown at right in this photo taken on 14th February 2003.

The accomodation buildings at McMurdo can be seen at middle left and Observation Hill in the background.

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AMTERN 4.   2003 (February 25th) Postcard  posted Paquebot in Christchurch.  Price US$5

Note: This was the date that "American Tern" arrived back in Lyttelton. By this time the Christchurch Paquebot postmark had been re-introduced and hence this postcard is postmarked at Christchurch rather than nearby Lyttelton.

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AMTERN 5.   2003 (February 25th) Postcard posted through Ross Dependency Agency   Price US$3

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AMTERN 6.   2003 (February 25th) Postcard posted Paquebot in Christchurch.  Price US$3

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AMTERN 7.   2004 (January 23rd) Envelope posted through USAPO in Christchurch.  Price US$5

Note: the above envelope was posted the day that "American Tern" arrived in Lyttelton on its way south. It has been posted through the US APO in Christchurch and is backstamped as shown at right on arrival at the South Pole.

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AMTERN 8.   2004 (January 23rd) Envelope posted through USAPO in Christchurch.  Price US$5

Note: the above cover is similar to the previous envelope but it has a printed design at lower left rather than the large USAP sticker.

The picture at right shows the vessel arriving in Lyttelton in the early hours of January 22nd 2004. the photo has been autographed by Captain Tim Adams.

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AMTERN 9.   2004 (January 22nd) Envelope posted at Lyttelton.  Price US$5

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Note: The above envelope has been posted using a 40 cent Antarctic design stamp issued by Posties Choice. Posties Choice is an alternative Postal Operator whose stamps are recognised by NZ Post for use within the NZ Post mail network.

The autographed picture at left shows "American Tern" entering the Lyttelton inner Harbour on 22nd January, 2004 to take on fuel oil at the oil wharf.

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AMTERN 10.   2004 (February 6th) Postcard posted at USAPO in McMurdo.  Price US$5

AmTerninIce03.jpg (29324 bytes)The view above shows "American Tern" parked in the McMurdo Ice channel.

AmTern04cvr4back.jpg (25931 bytes)Note: The postcard used above depicts the previous US supply vessel "Green Wave"  moored at McMurdo. The postcard has a sticker and the red American Tern cachet as shown above on tits back. This is the first usage of the  "American Tern" ship profile cachet.

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AMTERN 11.   2004 (February 20th) Postcard posted through Ross Agency.  Price US$8

Note; the above postcard has been autographed by the ships master, Captain Tim Adams.

The postage stamp used is a New Zealand stamp so it should have been postmarked with the Ross Dependency paquebot postmark rather than the regular Ross Dependency Agency postmark but quite possibly the agency staff incorrectly took the stamp to be a Ross Dependency stamp because of the nature of its design showing a glacial lake.

AmTernCaptTim&Klaus.jpg (50749 bytes)Ship's master Captain Tim Adams at left with Antarctica Services' Klaus Arne Pedersen discussing matters on board "American Tern" while berthed in Lyttelton.

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AMTERN 12.   2004 (February 20th) Postcard posted through Ross Agency.  Price US$5

The postcard above differs from the previous one in that it isn't signed and it has a different picture at lower left.

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AMTERN 13.   2004 (February 20th) Envelope posted through Ross Agency.  Price US$3

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Note; The above envelope has a Ross Dependency stamp which has correctly been postmarked on arrival from the Antarctic at the Ross Dependency Postal Agency.

The view at left shows the "American Tern" unloading cargo in Lyttelton on February 20th, 2004.

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AMTERN 14.   2004 (February 20th) Postcard posted paquebot through Ross Agency.  Price US$5

Note; The postcard above bears an American stamp which has correctly been postmarked with the rarely seen Ross Dependency Paquebot datestamp.

The view at right shows the chart room on board "American Tern" with Captain Tim Adams in the centre.

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AMTERN 15.   2004 (February 21st) Envelope posted paquebot at Lyttelton.  Price US$5

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Note: The envelope above has the regular Osprey Ship Management "American Tern" cachet at lower left.

It bears American stamps which have been paquebot postmarked at Lyttelton.

The picture at left shows the bridge of "American Tern".

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AMTERN 16.   2004 (February 21st) Envelope posted at Lyttelton.  Price US$3

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AMTERN 17.   2005 (January 25th) Special postcard posted paquebot Lyttelton.  Price US$5

Note: the "American Tern" had arrived in Lyttelton on January 25th 2005 from Port Hueneme and after a day departed for McMurdo.

She is shown at right berthed at Cashin Quay in Lyttelton on January 25th, 2005.

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AMTERN 18.   2005 (January 25th) Special postcard posted paquebot Lyttelton.  Price US$8

Note: The above postcard differs from the previous item by being signed by Captain Tim Adams.

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AMTERN 19.   2005 (January 25th) Special postcard posted Lyttelton.  Price US$5

Note: Also signed by Captain Tim Adams but with a New Zealand stamp rather than an American one.

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AMTERN 20.   2005 (January 25th) Special postcard posted Lyttelton.  Price US$3

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AMTERN 21.   2005 (January 25th) Special postcard posted Lyttelton.  Price US$8

Note: During work in the pack ice the "American tern" is required to have a captain on the bridge at all times. To comply with this, the company flies in a second captain to make sure they comply. This season the extra captain was Edwardo A. Sica who is shown at right in the photo along with the regular captain, Tim Adams.

The above postcard has been signed by both Captains.

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The attractive view at right shows "American Tern" in the ice channel near McMurdo in early February, 2005. This channel has been cut by icebreaker.

The mountains in the background are those of the trans-Antarctic Mountains


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AMTERN 22.   2005 (February 16th) Special postcard posted  Lyttelton.  Price US$5

Note: The above postcard was posted in Christchurch the day the vessel returned from the Antarctic.

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