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Ship to mash, ram polar ice as US aims to update aging fleet
Published in 16-12-2016
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The voyage by Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star comes as the U.S. looks to replace and expand its aging fleet of polar icebreakers so it can maintain a presence in the most remote corners of the world. The demand for icebreaking ships is expected to grow as climate change melts sea ice and lures more traffic to northern Arctic waters. "The specter in the future is more marine use in the Arctic, more shipping, more offshore development, more tourism," said Lawson Brigham, a professor of geography and Arctic policy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The Polar Star specializes in the Antarctic mission because it can handle the thicker ice, leaving the jobs in the Arctic to a medium icebreaker called the Cutter Healy. The Obama administration proposed spending $150 million this fiscal year for early work on a new heavy icebreaker. Neither proposal was adopted because the sides could not agree on a new federal budget, maintaining last year's spending levels through April.
Reference: www.chron.com