Coast Guard’s largest icebreaker visits Juneau

JUNEAU, Alaska – The Coast Guard Cutter Healy, the nation’s largest icebreaker, will arrive and moor at the Coast Guard pier in Juneau Thursday concluding the crews Arctic West Summer 2009 mission.

Juneau will be Healy’s final port call before transiting to the cutter’s home port in Seattle for necessary maintenance after patrolling the past three months studying the Arctic Ocean hydrography and mapping the extended continental shelf concluding the crews Arctic West Summer 2009 mission Thursday.

The Healy has spent the last three months underway in the Beaufort Sea and the Arctic Ocean for the final two components of its AWS09 mission. The first component included deploying several types of hydrographic moorings as well as recovering hydrographic moorings deployed on earlier missions. During the second component of the mission, the Healy participated in a joint effort with the Canadian Coast Guard Cutter Louis S. St-Laurent to map the floor of the Arctic Ocean helping create a more complete picture of the topographical features of the Arctic seafloor. The chief scientist for the first segment of the trip was Dr. Robert Pickart of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and Dr. Larry Mayer of the University of New Hampshire as the chief scientist for the second segment.

The Healy, which was commissioned in 2000, and is the newest and largest of the nation’s three polar icebreakers. The cutter is 420 feet long and has extensive scientific capabilities. The cutter has a crew of 80 with a primary mission in scientific support. In addition, as a Coast Guard cutter, the Healy is capable of other missions such as search and rescue, ship escort, environmental protection and the enforcement of laws and treaties in the Polar regions.

The Healy will not be available for tours.

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