ABSTRACT

Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress [September 21, 2011]   [open pdf - 714KB]

"Coast Guard polar icebreakers perform a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions. The Coast Guard's two heavy polar icebreakers-Polar Star and Polar Sea-have exceeded their intended 30-year service lives, and neither is currently in operational condition. The Polar Star was placed in caretaker status on July 1, 2006. Congress in FY2009 and FY2010 provided funding to repair Polar Star and return it to service for 7 to 10 years; the Coast Guard expects the reactivation project to be completed in December 2012. On June 25, 2010, the Coast Guard announced that Polar Sea had suffered an unexpected engine casualty; the ship has been unavailable for operation since then. The Coast Guard's third polar icebreaker-Healy-entered service in 2000. Compared to Polar Star and Polar Sea, Healy has less icebreaking capability (it is considered a medium polar icebreaker), but more capability for supporting scientific research. The ship is used primarily for supporting scientific research in the Arctic. The Coast Guard's FY2012 budget proposes decommissioning Polar Sea in FY2011 and transitioning its crew to the reactivated Polar Star. The resulting U.S. polar icebreaking fleet would consist of one heavy polar icebreaker (Polar Star) and one medium polar icebreaker (Healy)."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL34391
Author:
Publisher:
Date:
2011-09-21
Series:
Copyright:
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Via E-mail
Format:
pdf
Media Type:
application/pdf
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