Cutter Healy to moor in Seward before conducting further Arctic research

17th Coast Guard District NewsSEWARD, Alaska – The nation’s largest ice breaker, Coast Guard Cutter Healy, will arrive and moor at the Alaska Railroad Cruise Ship Pier Friday after a month of operations in the Arctic.

This year, Healy’s crew will spend a total of seven months underway in the Beaufort Sea and the Arctic Ocean for four separate science operations during its Arctic West Summer/Winter 2011 deployment. Following a week in Seward for rest and maintenance they will resume operations in the Arctic Ocean.

The crew of the Healy recently completed their first mission working with researchers from NASA to collect and study water and ice samples, looking largely to learn more about the refractive properties of sunlight in the Arctic environment.

Next Healy’s crew will participate in their fourth year of collaboration with the Canadian coast guard icebreaker 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 operation will include deploying several types of hydrographic moorings, as well as recovering hydrographic moorings deployed on earlier missions.

The final operation will be a biology-based mission, studying the behavior of copepods in the winter months.

Healy, commissioned in 2000, is the nation’s newest and largest polar icebreaker. The cutter is 420 feet long and has extensive scientific capabilities. Homeported in Seattle, the cutter has a permanent crew of 80. The primary mission of the crew is scientific support. Healy’s crew is capable of other operations such as search and rescue, ship escorts, environmental protection and the enforcement of laws and treaties in the Polar Regions.

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