Polar-class icebreaker

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This article is about United States Coast Guard icebreakers. For other vessels referred to as Polar-class icebreakears, see Polar-class icebreaker (disambiguation).
Polar class
USCG Polar Star
USCG Polar Star
Class overview
Builders: Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company, Seattle, WA
Operators: United States Coast Guard
Preceded by: USCGC Glacier
Succeeded by: USCGC Healy
Built: 1972–1978
In service: 1976–
Completed: 2
Active: 1
Laid up: 1[1]
General characteristics [2]
Type: Icebreaker
Displacement: 10,863 long tons (11,037 t) (standard)
13,623 long tons (13,842 t) (full)
Length: 399 ft (122 m)
Beam: 83 ft 6 in (25.45 m)
Height: 137 ft 10 in (42 m) (from waterline)
Draft: 31 ft (9.4 m)[3]
Installed power: 6 × Alco 16V-251F diesel engines 3,000 hp (2,200 kW) ea.
3 × Pratt & Whitney FT-4A12 gas turbines 25,000 hp (19,000 kW) ea.
Propulsion: Combined diesel-electric or gas (CODLOG)
3 shafts; controllable pitch propellers
Speed: 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)
3 knots (5.6 km/h; 3.5 mph) in 6-foot (1.8 m) ice
Range: 16,000 nautical miles (30,000 km; 18,000 mi) at 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)
28,275 nautical miles (52,365 km; 32,538 mi) at 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph)
Complement: 15 officers
127 enlisted
33 scientists
12-person helicopter detachment
Aviation facilities: Helipad and hangar

Polar-class icebreakers USCGC Polar Star (WAGB-10), USCGC Polar Sea (WAGB-11) are heavy icebreakers operated by the United States Coast Guard (USCG). These cutters, specifically designed for open-water icebreaking, have reinforced hulls, special icebreaking bows, and a system that allows rapid shifting of ballast to increase the effectiveness of their icebreaking. The vessels conduct Arctic and Antarctic research and are the primary icebreakers that clear the channel into McMurdo Station for supply ships. All are homeported out of Seattle, Washington.

In addition to the two Polar-class icebreakers, the USCG has a third polar-capable icebreaker, USCGC Healy (WAGB-20).[4]

Both Polar Star and Polar Sea are near the end of their effective lifetimes, and have spent years moored because they were in need of expensive and unbudgeted upgrades.[5][6][7] In November 2013 four Senators proposed an amendment to the 2014 Defense Appropriations Act authorizing the construction of four new Polar class vessels, at a cost of $850 million each.[8][9][10] The four Senators sponsoring the amendment were Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, from Washington, and Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski, from Alaska. According to the Seattle Times the chances that the amendment will survive into the bill, as passed, are slim.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Scrapping the Polar Sea stopped while lawmakers search for budgetary icebreaker". The Seattle Times. 21 June 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-20. 
  2. ^ Baker 1998, p. 1119.
  3. ^ Moore 1985, p. 772.
  4. ^ "Northrop Grumman to Supply Polar Ice Breaker Navigation Support for U.S. Coast Guard". October 20, 2013. 
  5. ^ Ewing, Philip (25 March 2008). "CG Steps Up Bid to Rescue Icebreaker Funding". Navy Times (Gannett Government Media). Retrieved 2008-03-01. "And it laid out a set of options for the Coast Guard's Arctic capability, which included:...25-year service life extensions for the older ships, at a cost of about $400 million per ship." 
  6. ^ Tibbits, George (10 March 2010). "Allen: Polar Star to be Reactivated by 2013". Navy Times (Gannett Government Media). Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2012-12-15. Retrieved 2012-12-15. "After a $62 million overhaul, the Coast Guard will have its third icebeaker back in service in 2013, filling a critical need as the fleet takes on new responsibilities, the commandant of the service said Wednesday." 
  7. ^ Song, Kyung M. (14 December 2012). "Icebreaker Polar Star Gets $57 million Overhaul". The Seattle Times. ISSN 0745-9696. OCLC 9198928. Archived from the original on 2012-12-15. Retrieved 2012-12-15. "The U.S. Coast Guard reactivated the Polar Star Friday after a four-year, $57 million overhaul at Vigor Industrial shipyard. The 34-year-old ship is to undergo testing next year before once again plying the frozen Arctic regions." 
  8. ^ Song, Kyung M. (29 November 2013). "Washington, Alaska senators pave way for 4 new icebreakers". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 2013-11-29. Retrieved 2013-11-29. "The four U.S. senators from Washington and Alaska are seeking to authorize construction of as many as four new heavy-duty icebreakers, vastly expanding the Coast Guard's beleaguered Seattle-based icebreaker fleet." 
  9. ^ "Alaska, Washington Senators Introduce Bipartisan Icebreaker Amendment". politicalnews.me. 29 November 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-11-29. "The United States currently has only two operational icebreakers, the Healy and the Polar Star. The Polar Star is currently in Seattle preparing to depart on December 3rd for Antarctica after years of extensive retrofitting." 
  10. ^ Kelly, Devin (28 November 2013). "Senators push for new heavy polar icebreakers". Anchorage Daily News. Archived from the original on 2013-11-29. "According to the language of the amendment, the Navy will be directed to build up to four new heavy icebreakers and then transfer the ships to the U.S. Coast Guard, which takes sole responsibility for polar missions. A hefty price tag accompanies the proposal -- each icebreaker costs about $860 million, said Heather Handyside, a spokeswoman for Begich." 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Baker, A. D. (1998). The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World 1998–1999. Annapolis, Maryland, USA: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-111-4. 
  • Moore, John (1985). Jane's Fighting Ships 1985–86. London: Jane's Yearbooks. ISBN 0-7106-0814-4. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Polar class icebreakers at Wikimedia Commons