The crew left the first week of December after a two-week quarantine and two rounds of double COVID tests. The forty-two year old ship returned from Operation Deep Freeze 2018, a voyage to resupply the McMurdo Antarctic research center on […] ________. In the Chukchi Sea, the Polar Star rammed — again and again — through a heavy blanket of ice. “Right around Christmas time, when we were at the furthest north extent, it had been 10 days total without a sunrise,” Woityra said. "Polar Star's winter Arctic deployment has served to better understand and prepare for the challenges of operating in such a harsh and unforgiving environment," Woityra said in a statement released by the Coast Guard. This article is written by Hal Bernton from Seattle Times and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the Industry Dive publisher network. Tricare Prime beneficiaries won't incur charges if they get their vaccine from a location outside their military provider. As late as August, the 134 full-time crew were still preparing for their traditional role. The Seattle-based icebreaker Polar Star has returned from a mission to explore the Arctic during the winter months. No other U.S. surface ship has ever been that far north in the winter.”. "Atomic Icebreaker Considered." The Polar Star is the only icebreaker classified as "heavy" — able to break through ice up to 21 feet thick. This video was done in 2019, when the Polar Star had arrived at the American McMurdo Research Station in Antarctica. The Polar Star is one of two U.S. icebreakers and the only one classified as "heavy" — able to break through ice up to 21 feet thick. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com. On 30 June 2006, the USCG placed Polar Star in "Commission-Special" status in Seattle. “The things we learned on this trip are going to inform Coast Guard investments in the future,” Capt. The mission was a serious test of the capabilities of the 45-year-old, 399-foot Polar Star with challenges that included generating enough heat to keep the ship warm. The Coast Guard today awarded an indefinite quantity, indefinite delivery contract to Mare Island Dry Dock LLC of Vallejo, California, for the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star service life extension project (SLEP), as part of the In-Service Vessel Sustainment program. The project will recapitalize a number of major systems and extend the service life of the cutter by approximately four … 6 (1976), p. 315. But that mission was scuttled by the National Science Foundation as the coronavirus pandemic prompted research to be cut back and restrictions put in place to reduce the risk of the virus reaching Antarctica. The view from aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star (WAGB 10) while the cutter is at anchor in Taylor Bay, Alaska, Thursday, February 11, 2021. Isolation on the boat kept them safe from COVID, but it meant sacrifices for their loved ones back home. The vessel left Seattle in early December and traveled through the Gulf of Alaska, the Bering Sea and then through the thick ice of the Chukchi Sea. So, in September, the Coast Guard decided to send the Polar Star north. The crew was able to collect data about ice and deploy thermographs. Only U.S. USCGC Polar Sea (WAGB-11) is a United States Coast Guard heavy icebreaker.Commissioned on 23 February 1977, the ship was built by Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company of Seattle along with her sister ship, Polar Star.Her home port is Seattle, Washington. Under a 2006 law, since the vessels were designated primarily as research vessels, the National Science Foundation pays for and runs the United States' ice breaking vessels, using Coast Guard crews. Heavy Icebreaker Is Falling Apart On Antarctic Mission The Polar Star is the only ship the United States has to cut paths through the toughest Arctic and Antarctic ice. The Biden administration’s early efforts to resurrect the 2015 Iran nuclear deal are getting a chilly response from Tehran. The Polar Star went further north than any other U.S. military surface vessel has in the winter. USCGC POLAR STAR (WAGB 10) Seattle, WA. “My kids are in 5th and 6th grade and they're doing the remote schooling, so he's been handling everything at home. And in Seattle, the first order of business as the crew disembarked was vaccinations. Homeported in Seattle, Washington, US Coast Guard Cutter POLAR STAR (WAGB 10) is the United States' only heavy icebreaker. It was a trip like no other — a deployment deep into the Arctic where the crew turned isolation into opportunities for training, scientific research and military maneuvers. Capt. No sooner had the boat docked, crew members were offered COVID vaccine shots. Adams, Michael R. "Coast Guard Breaks Ice with New 140-Foot Tugs." The 45-year-old heavy icebreaker usually goes to the Antarctic this time of year, but the pandemic got in the way of that mission, and the Coast Guard announced in October that Polar Star … The operational polar fleet currently includes one 399-foot heavy icebreaker (Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, commissioned in 1976) and one 420-foot medium icebreaker (Coast Guard Cutter Healy, commissioned in 2000). Information. The U.S. Air Force announced last month that the new U.S. Space Command headquarters will be in Huntsville, Alabama. The 399-foot icebreaker is the only ship in U.S. service capable of clearing a path through the Antarctic ice to escort three refuel and resupply ships to McMurdo Station during Operation Deep Freeze. However, only the Polar Star is a heavy icebreaker capable of accessing all of the Arctic year-round. The current position of CG POLAR STAR is at North America West Coast (coordinates 48.13775 N / 123.01573 W) reported 4 mins ago by AIS. 113-115. These cutters, specifically designed for icebreaking, have reinforced hulls, special icebreaking bows, and a system that allows rapid shifting of ballast to increase the effectiveness of their icebreaking. 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Four days later, the Coast Guard announced that a Mississippi company would build a new heavy icebreaker by 2024 for $746million. These Programs Can Help Veterans Get Started, My Journey to Discover the Lost Flag-Raiser of Iwo Jima, One Shot, One Kill: Marines Begin Fielding New Precision Rifle Optic, The Coast Guard's Eye in the Sky: Civil Air Patrol Monitors Ice Along Connecticut and Thames Rivers, Military Personnel Save 1,100 Stunned Sea Turtles from Frigid Texas Waters, 5 Reasons Route Irish Was the Most Nerve-Racking Road in Iraq, 7 Products You Didn’t Know Were Invented by the Military, 'The Daughters of Kobani' Tells a Riveting Story of Women in Combat. "There was no lost time due to malfunction," Strohmaier said. The crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, a 399-foot Heavy Icebreaker pull into Coast Guard Base Seattle, March 11, 2019. Naval InstituteProceeding… The vessel in recent years has had mishaps and maintenance problems, including a 2019 fire that damaged a shipboard incinerator and a leaking shaft repaired with the aid of a scuba diver. Researchers deployed buoys that will transmit information about ice floes, and the crew aided research to develop a better understanding of the hydrology of the Chukchi Sea. SEATTLE — The U.S. Coast Guard heavy icebreaker Polar Star arrived back in Seattle Saturday after spending nearly three months away. A “heavy” icebreaker, Polar Star can conduct continuous passage in ice up to six feet thick, and backing and ramming in ice up to 21 feet thick. Switching Poles, USCG's Heavy Icebreaker Heads North for the Winter Polar Star in Seattle's harbor (USCG file image) By The Maritime Executive 10-29-2020 07:42:57 The Coast Guard commissioned a replacement for Polar Star in 2019 with delivery due in 2024, and plans for two more in the following four years. Temperatures were brutal and they worked in darkness for days on end. Check out some of the photos from their mission. On Dec. 25, the Polar Star reached a latitude of 72 degrees, which was farther north than any U.S. government vessel, other than a submarine, had reached in winter. SEATTLE — The U.S. Coast Guard heavy icebreaker Polar Star arrived back in Seattle Saturday after spending nearly three months away. "It's become obvious to even the most casual of observers that the military has gone whole-hog on cancel culture.". Now His Family Is Seeking Answers, Beekeeping Is All the Rage. The Polar Star typically heads south to assist in the summer resupply of the McMurdo Station on Ross Island, close to the Antarctic continent. It’s had some serious mechanical failures in recent years and a replacement … Naval InstituteProceedings 95 (Feb 1979), pp. The Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Star returned Saturday to home port in Seattle after a northern cruise that marked the first time since 1982 that a U.S. government vessel had ventured into the winter Arctic. 386-389. They wrote that the ice the crew experiences during the Antarctic summer is warmer and softer, and makes less noise when it is compressed and crushed by the hull. It was a big shift from the Polar Star's usual mission. Then they will bring the Polar Star down to California for maintenance work in preparation for next year's cruise, which is expected to be a return to Antarctica. The crew now has three weeks free of ship duties. Baker in the background, U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star (WAGB-10) transits Puget Sound north of Seattle on Dec. 4, 2020. The top enlisted leader for the 10th Mountain Division is apologizing for the poor and dangerous performance of soldiers seen... It’s a tradition that’s lasted eight decades. The Polar Star pulled into port in Seattle on March 11. I wrote a story recently about this year’s new mission for the USCG Polar Star to the Arctic, instead of to Antarctica. During this fall-winter cruise, despite the extreme weather, the vessel had no major breakdowns or accidents, according to Petty Officer Steve Strohmaier, of Coast Guard public affairs. The isolation of the cruise was heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic, which prevented shore leaves at Alaska ports during 78 days of the cruise. Crew members came up with a lot of descriptions for the auditory experience of this noisy passage, comparing the sounds to "screeches and bangs from a perpetual car crash, a blaring elephant, freight train or driving through concrete," according to a dispatch written by Petty Officer 1st Class Cynthia Oldham and Petty Officer 2nd Class Tedd Meinersman. "Because of the finite number of parts available from the Polar Sea, the Coast Guard may have to acquire new parts for the Polar Star that could increase the $75 million estimate." In 2009, the NSF announced that they would end funding for maintaining Polar Star. The Navy is the first military service to reveal what leaders will cover during the military's upcoming stand-downs. The patrol included communications exercises that demonstrated the importance of a working relationship in an area where the two nations have agreements for combined operations in search and rescue and countering illegal fishing, according to Capt. All rights reserved. Mariners Weather Log25 (Nov-Dec 1981), pp. “The US hasn't had an asset in the Arctic in the winter in almost 40 years.”, RELATED: Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Star departs Seattle for important Arctic mission. The crew encountered dense, shifting sea ice, daylong darkness and wind chills that plunged to 50 degrees below zero. The Polar Star pulled into port in Seattle on March 11. The Coast Guard’s other challenge will be just keeping the 44-year-old Polar Star moving. The Polar Star headed north with researchers from an Army Corps of Engineers cold weather laboratory, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the University of Washington and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. “Seeing Northern Lights was really cool, but the stars were magnificent, indescribable, it was breathtaking to see,” Petty Officer First Class Cynthia Oldham said. Four days later, the Coast Guard announced that a Mississippi company would build a new heavy icebreaker by 2024 for $746million. December 7, 2020 U.S. heavy icebreaker Polar Star departs for Arctic deployment With Mt. When it was deemed safe, the crew turned their focus to the mission: Defending U.S. waters and helping with scientific research. “We made it as far as 72 degrees North, which is a winter record for latitude. The Arctic winter ice was also was very hard. The crew completed a historic mission under revised COVID-19 protocols. One of Polar Star's missions was to send a message to Russia about America's presence in the region after increasing incidents involving the Russian harassment of U.S.-based fishing vessels. – in 2004-2005 (ODF 2005), the Russian icebreaker Krasin was assisting USCGC Polar Star while USCGC Polar Sea had to remain at the dry dock – in 2005-2006 (ODF 2006), Krasin attempted break-in alone but threw a blade which couldn’t be replaced; USCGC Polar Star was hastily deployed from Seattle (and afterwards placed in caretaker status) A Marine vet was issued a P320 as his service weapon to use as an officer for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Meet the icebreaker Polar Star, the neglected stepchild of the U.S. military industrial complex . The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star (WAGB-10) is in the fast Ice Jan. 2, 2020, approximately 20 miles north of McMurdo Station, Antarctica. "A Brief History of U.S. Coast Guard Icebreakers." With violence spiking, Afghanistan’s warring sides have returned to the negotiation table. Bill Woityra, the vessel's commander, said the "crew's resilience was unyielding ... we accomplished everything we set out to do and more.". Polar-class icebreakers USCGC Polar Star (WAGB-10), USCGC Polar Sea (WAGB-11) are heavy icebreakers operated by the United States Coast Guard (USCG). But it was wind driven, and some areas piled up in pressure ridges that the crew worked to avoid, a task complicated by the lack of light that greatly limited visibility, according to Woityra. The vessel is en route to the port of Seattle, sailing at a speed of 0.1 knots and expected to arrive there on Feb 20, 12:00.. Notifications can be turned off anytime in the browser settings. The coronavirus pandemic prevented crew members from getting time away from the ship as they avoided the usual ports-of-call. None of the four people — two pilots and two crew chiefs — on board the UH-1Y helicopter were injured. In the Arctic, the winter ice was mostly flat, and several feet thick. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. © Copyright 2021 Seattle Times. Naval InstituteProceedings 89 (Feb 1963), pp. These cutters are designed for open-water icebreaking and feature reinforced hulls and specially angled bows. Also during the trip, the Polar Star and a Russian aircraft in mid-January patrolled a portion of the two nations' maritime boundary in the Bering Sea. The crew will now get a few weeks off and then they will take the boat down to San Diego and begin dry dock work to get ready for the next mission. Currently, the service has two icebreakers, heavy icebreaker USCGC Polar Star (WAGB-10), commissioned in 1976, and medium icebreaker USCGC Healy (WAGB-20) … Jason Brennell, chief of enforcement for the Coast Guard's 17th District. The 45-year-old heavy icebreaker is nearing the end of a months-long patrol to project power and support national security objectives throughout Alaskan waters and into the Arctic. “We had terrific interactions with Russian border guards. The crew … "Under Way With the 140-foot Icebreaker-Tugs." Jan. 13, 2021 —. Woityra, the Polar Star's commander, said he expects the Coast Guard will be heading to the Arctic more often in the future, and in different seasons. “I'm so thankful for my husband's support and the sacrifices he made,” Oldham said. So I'm grateful for his support.”. Bill Woityra said. Commissioned in 1976, she was built by Lockheed Shipbuilding along with her now decommissioned sister ship, POLAR SEA (WAGB 11). (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Amanda Norcross) 21 Feb 2021 They were surprised we were up there,” Woityra said. Article by: Peter Ong The United States Coast Guard’s only heavy operational Polar-class icebreaker, Polar Star, completed its annual scheduled refit at Mare Island, Vallejo, California, in a maintenance period riddled with challenges. You may have seen pictures of the Polar Star, but this video gives you a more intimate look at her from inside.. "I was shocked by how hard and ridge and tough it was totally foreign to me," said Woityra, who noted that the noise of the ice-breaking was a constant cacophony that made sleep elusive despite the perpetual night. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called the video "deeply disturbing" during a press conference. 156-158. The US Coast Guard’s sole heavy icebreaker, Polar Star, recently broke the nation’s 40-year winter absence from icy waters above the Arctic Circle while on a 12-week deployment to the Bering Strait region.. Back at the dock in Juneau, Capt. This caretaker status required a reduced crew of 44 to keep the ship ready for a possible return to the ice. Black Restaurant Week comes to the Pacific Northwest, Ferndale residents fight through plant closure and COVID-19 pandemic, Mariners CEO Kevin Mather resigns after fallout from controversial speech, Jordan Morris tears left ACL will return to U.S. for surgery, Teachers and staff in Auburn schools ready for rapid COVID testing pilot program, LIST: Mass COVID-19 vaccine sites in western Washington, Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Star departs Seattle for important Arctic mission, Seattle-based Coast Guard icebreaker preparing for unusual Arctic journey, Seattle icebreaker Polar Star assigned to Arctic instead of Antarctic this year. The captain said 99% of the crew plan to get vaccinated. Mariners Weather Log20, No. Brigham, Lawson W. "One-Forty Class Coast Guard Icebreaker-Tugs." 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