On 14 May 1997, the research vessel (R/V) Polar Duke departed Punta Arenas, Chile, bound for Port Fourchon, Louisiana, thus ending a historic 13-year charter to the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) as their flagship for science programs in the region of the Antarctic Peninsula (Figure 1, A and B). During this period, the R/V Polar Duke sailed along the coastal waterways, fjords, and open seas that were only first explored less than a century ago. Since January 1985, the R/V Polar Duke logged in excess of 400,000 miles, conducting research on a broad range of topics (Table 1). In addition to her important marine science mission, the R/V Polar Duke also provided year-round logistical support for the science programs conducted at the U.S. research base Palmer Station, for several seasonal field camps and for the U.S. Special Assignment Airlift Missions (SAAM) to King George Island (Figure 1B). In her support capacity, the R/V Polar Duke transported people, equipment, food, construction supplies, and other materials south from Tierra del Fuego, and retrograded all wastes generated south of 60°, as required by the Antarctic Treaty.