Coast Guard Cutter Healy returning to Seattle

SEATTLE – The nation’s largest ice breaker, Coast Guard Cutter Healy, is scheduled to return to Seattle Thursday, after completing its Arctic West Summer 2009 AWS09 mission.

For the past three months, Healy has been underway in the Arctic Ocean. The AWS09 mission included studying Arctic Ocean hydrography, in addition to continuing work on the Joint U.S.-Canadian Arctic Extended Continental Shelf Mission, which included several weeks of collaboration with the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent. Healy’s return to Seattle signals the start of its drydock maintenance period.

Healy spent much of the summer underway in the Beaufort Sea and the Arctic Ocean for the final two parts of its AWS09 mission.

The first part of the mission included deploying several types of hydrographic moorings, in addition to recovering hydrographic moorings deployed on prior trips.

During the second part of the mission, Healy participated in a joint opertation with the Louis S. St-Laurent to map the floor of the Arctic Ocean, helping to create a more detailed chart of the topographical features of the Arctic seafloor. The chief scientist for the first segment of the trip was Dr. Robert Pickart, of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and chief scientist for the second segment was Dr. Larry Mayer, of the University of New Hampshire.

Healy has been homeported in Seattle since 2000, when it was commissioned, and is the nation’s newest and largest of the three Coast Guard polar icebreakers. The cutter is 420-feet long with a permanent crew of 80. The cutter’s primary mission is scientific support in the Arctic. Healy is also capable of other missions such as search and rescue, ship escorts, environmental protection, and the enforcement of laws and treaties in the polar regions.

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