On the second day of his trip to Alaska, President Obama called for funding to expand the USCG icebreaker fleet.

USCGC Healy breaking ice. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Prentice Danner

 

Compared to Russia’s 40, the US has a paltry 3 icebreakers, one of which has been in dry dock since 2010. USCGC Healy is the only US icebreaker available for Arctic operations, and Polar Star plies the Antarctic, while USCGC Polar Sea is laid up in a Seattle dry dock since a catastrophic engine failure 5 years ago.

USCGC Polar Star. U.S. Coast Guard photo

 

Russia Today News: Russia has forty operational icebreakers and another eleven planned or under construction, the White House announced Tuesday that it would “propose to accelerate acquisition of a replacement heavy icebreaker to 2020 from 2022, begin planning for construction of additional icebreakers, and call on Congress to work with the Administration to provide sufficient resources to fund these critical investments.”

USCGC Polar Sea. U.S. Coast Guard photo

 

With the Arctic polar cap receding, Russian icebreakers have been busily plying the Northeast Passage, a much shorter sea route for cargo ships headed from Asia to Europe and back.

Read more from Russia Today News here…

by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee

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