Coast Guard patrols U.S. Arctic

The Coast Guard Cutter Midgett and the Canadian coast guard ship Sir Wilfrid Laurier conduct a joint maritime security patrol in the Chukchi Sea on July 20, 2021. The Midgett is the Coast Guard’s eighth National Security Cutter and is homeported in Honolulu. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The Coast Guard Cutter Midgett and the Canadian coast guard ship Sir Wilfrid Laurier conduct a joint maritime security patrol in the Chukchi Sea on July 20, 2021. MidgettU.S. Coast Guard photo.

JUNEAU, Alaska — Crews aboard Coast Guard Cutters Midgett and Healy patrolled the Bering and Chukchi Seas off the coast of Alaska this summer to demonstrate the Coast Guard’s commitment to ensuring a safe and secure Arctic and to work respectively with Canadian and Russian counterparts on shared maritime interests.

In late July, the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Midgett, one of the Service’s National Security Cutters, conducted combined operations and training with the Canadian coast guard Ship Sir Wilfrid Laurier in the Chukchi Sea, a joint patrol of the U.S.-Russia maritime boundary north of the Diomede Islands with the Russian Border Guard vessel Kamchatka, and a joint transit of the Bering Strait with the Coast Guard Cutter Healy, one of the service’s two operational polar icebreakers. In each case, Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak crews forward-deployed to Kotzebue, Alaska in an HC-130J Hercules airplane supported the operations.

The simultaneous presence of Healy and Midgett in the Arctic region signals the increasing demand for the merged icebreaking and maritime security capability required of future Polar Security Cutters.

Midgett is the Coast Guard’s eighth National Security Cutter and is homeported in Honolulu. Featuring advanced command-and-control capabilities, national security cutters are the flagship of the Coast Guard’s fleet, deploying globally to confront national security threats, strengthen maritime governance, and promote economic prosperity. While National Security Cutters possess advanced operational capabilities, more than 70% of the Coast Guard’s offshore presence is the service’s aging fleet of medium endurance cutters, many of which are over 50 years old and approaching the end of their service life. Replacing the fleet with new Offshore Patrol Cutters is one of the Coast Guard’s top acquisition priorities. The first Offshore Patrol Cutter is scheduled to be delivered in 2022.

Healy is a medium icebreaker capable of conducting a wide range of Coast Guard operations including search and rescue, ship escorts, environmental protection, and enforcement of laws and treaties in the polar regions. Uniquely equipped to conduct scientific operations, Healy is also the Nation’s premiere high-latitude research vessel. Healy is the only U.S. military surface vessel that routinely deploys to the ice-covered waters of the Arctic to provide access and secure national interests related to our maritime borders and natural resources.

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