Coast Guard Cutter Healy crew invites public to open house in Juneau, Alaska

Coast Guard Alaska News
JUNEAU, Alaska — The crew of the polar icebreaker Coast Guard Cutter Healy is hosting a free open house for the public Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the cruise ship terminal in Juneau.

The tour of the Healy is free to the public. All children must be accompanied by an adult and no pets are allowed aboard the cutter. Crewmembers will be standing by to answer questions about the 420-foot icebreaker and their most recent operations in the Arctic Ocean.

The Healy is scheduled to arrive in Juneau Thursday after completing 123 days of operations in the Bering Sea, Chukchi Sea and Arctic Ocean. During the past four months, Healy crewmembers conducted three primary missions to further scientific knowledge and understanding of the Arctic.

The first mission, the Study of Under-Ice Blooms in the Chukchi Ecosystem, was completed by Stanford University under funding from the National Science Foundation. This mission utilized a variety of tools and equipment to investigate, sample and collect information. Scientists worked with a conductivity, temperature and depth rosette, plankton and zooplankton nets, vanveen grabs, a light-frame onsight key-species investigative (loki) imaging device, a trace metal detection FISH that was towed alongside the ship, a trace metal pump and weather balloons. The compilation of each of these individual components enabled a vast amount of scientific data about the Chukchi Ecosystem to be woven together for education and understanding of ongoing biological, physical, and chemical oceanographic and other related trends in the Arctic. Throughout this phase, the Healy crew completed 230 science stations in which the ship was stopped to conduct operations, with 14 of those being on-ice deployments.

The second scientific mission of the summer was completed by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientists who were studying the Pacific Boundary Current and other oceanographic trends in the Arctic. The study of these currents and data collection was captured utilizing sub-surface oceanographic moorings. The moorings remain onsite for one to two years and capture a snapshot of what is occurring in the oceans and seas north of the Arctic Circle. The information collected by the moorings, along with data captured by 156 conductivity, temperature and depth rosette casts, allowed for continuation of research that has been ongoing for 10 years aboard Healy.

The third and final science pursuit of the summer was accomplished with a team from the Coast Guard’s Research and Development Center. Members from CG R&D Center brought technologies and equipment to be utilized for oil spill monitoring in the harsh Arctic environment. Tools used to complete mission objectives and testing evaluation consisted of several remotely operated vehicles, a few small unmanned aerial systems, an autonomous underwater vehicle, an unmanned surface vehicle, surface wave instrument float with tracking, buoys, oil spill tracking buoys and an aerostat balloon. Other smaller materials and projects were evaluated for use by the Coast Guard in the Arctic, and all of these tests together yielded greater understanding of tools to respond to an oil spill should an accident occur in the ice at extreme northern latitudes.

The Healy is scheduled to depart Sunday and return to its homeport in Seattle.

Coast Guard Cutter Healy, delivered in 1999, is the nation’s newest and largest U.S. high latitude icebreaker. The cutter’s primary mission is scientific support and has extensive scientific capabilities. In addition, as a Coast Guard cutter, Healy is capable of other operations such as search and rescue, ship escort, environmental protection, and the enforcement of laws and treaties in the Polar Regions.

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