SEATTLE – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Healy returned to Seattle after completing four months of Arctic operations, Thursday.
Their return marks the completion of an Arctic expedition which culminated in the crews’ historic arrival at the North Pole and was the first time a U.S. surface vessel has reached 90°N unaccompanied.
The crew conducted two separate missions that included operations in the Bering Sea, Chukchi Sea and Arctic Ocean.
Coast Guard Research and Development Center members joined the crew of the Healy, a 420-foot Medium Endurance Icebreaker, for the third consecutive year to continue their research of Arctic technologies including: remotely operated vehicles, small unmanned aerial systems, an autonomous underwater vehicle and an unmanned surface vehicle.
The crew departed Dutch Harbor, Alaska, Aug. 9 for Geotraces, an international effort to study the distribution of trace elements in the world’s oceans to establish the effects of these elements on global climate change.
Healy was commissioned in 1999 and is the nation’s newest and largest U.S. high latitude icebreaker, with extensive scientific capabilities. The cutter is based out of Seattle with a permanent crew of 87. The cutter’s primary mission is scientific support, but is also capable of conducting search and rescue, ship escort, environmental protection, and the enforcement of laws and treaties in the Polar Regions.