Coast Guard’s largest icebreaker scheduled to visit Seward

Seward, AK – The nation’s largest ice breaker, Coast Guard Cutter Healy, is scheduled to arrive at the Alaska Railroad Freight Dock, Seward, on Wednesday, after concluding the first component of its Arctic West Summer 2010 mission.

Healy is spending the summer in the Arctic, conducting Arctic Ocean hydrographical research and mapping the Extended Continental Shelf. The Healy will not be available for public tours.

Healy is spending the summer underway in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas and the Arctic Ocean for the three separate components of its AWS10 mission.

During the first component, the crew of the Healy worked with researchers from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to collect and study water and ice samples, looking largely to learn more about the refractive properties of sunlight in the Arctic environment. This part of the mission included on-ice deployments, small boat operations, and scientific casts conducted from the ship (for more information on this component of the mission, see the NASA ICESCAPE website listed below).

After departing Seward, the Healy will begin the second component of the mission, which is the final year of a three-year collaboration with the Canadian Coast Guard Cutter Louis S. St-Laurent to map the floor of the Arctic Ocean, helping to create a more complete picture of the topographical features of the Arctic seafloor.

The third component will include deploying several types of hydrographic moorings, as well as recovering hydrographic moorings deployed on earlier missions.

The Healy, which was commissioned in 2000, and is the newest and largest of the nation’s three polar icebreakers. The 420-foot-long cutter is homeported in Seattle, WA, with a permanent crew of 80 and a primary mission of scientific support. The Healy is also capable of conducting missions such as search and rescue, ship escort, environmental protection, and the enforcement of laws and treaties in the Polar Regions.

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