Cutter Healy completes third of four 2011 science missions

Coast Guard District 17 NewsDUTCH HARBOR, Alaska — The Coast Guard Cutter Healy moored at the Coast Guard pier in Dutch Harbor Thursday having completed the third of four Arctic science missions planned for 2011.

The most recent mission was to service passive acoustic, chemical and physical moorings and evaluate hydrographic measurements for the yearly assessment of the western Arctic boundary current which flows from Barrow Canyon to the continental slope of the Beaufort Sea. Passive acoustic moorings measure marine mammal calls. Chemical moorings quantify air to sea gas exchange and physical moorings measure water properties and circulation in Barrow Canyon.

During the past three weeks Healy’s crew travelled more than 5,750 miles from the Beaufort Sea north of Barrow to M’Clure Strait at the entrance of the Canadian Archipelago servicing hydrographic moorings, conducting sub-bottom profiling and conductivity-temperature-depth measurements. Healy carried out more than 160 conductivity-temperature-depth casts, recovered and serviced six hydrographic moorings and redeployed five hydrographic moorings and drift buoys. Healy’s final science mission will be a biology based operation, studying the behavior of copepods in the winter months.

“This year, Healy will spend a total of seven months underway in the Beaufort Sea and the Arctic Ocean on our four separate science operations during the Arctic West Summer/Winter 2011 deployment,” said Ensign Holly McNair of the Healy operations department.

Healy, commissioned in 2000, is the nation’s newest polar icebreaker. The 420-foot cutter has extensive scientific capabilities. Homeported in Seattle, the cutter has a permanent crew of 80 and a primary mission of 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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