The icebreaker Polar Star was 1,000 miles out of its home port of Seattle last December, three days into its yearly voyage to resupply scientific bases in Antarctica, when a powerful swell hit its bow and flooded the deck.
The ship shuddered.
The roar of the ventilators in the galley quit as Joseph Sellar, a stocky 25-year-old Coast Guard culinary specialist from New Hampshire, watched seawater explode from the ceiling.
He lunged toward a switch to close the overhead vents. With a loud pop, an outlet ejected a purple spark.
“Are we sinking?” asked a petty officer on temp duty from Virginia.
Sellar knew better.