Yesterday, Admiral Allen reactivated the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, one of America’s two polar class ice breakers. The commandant of the Coast Guard cited a changing Arctic landscape that will require new policies on economic, homeland and environmental security, and a Coast Guard presence to enforce them in his remarks aboard the Polar Star.
“These ships are made with endurance, sea-keeping capability and command-and-control communications that make them an absolutely essential platform to conduct any type of operations in the Arctic – national security, homeland security, environmental, search and rescue, the entire gamut of Coast Guard missions. We think it’s very, very important that this ship be re-established to full service capability and we look forward to putting it into operation in 2013.” (Admiral Thad Allen, Commandant of the Coast Guard, March 10, 2010)
The Polar Star and her sister ship, the Polar Sea, were commissioned in 1976 and remain two of the world’s most powerful non-nuclear icebreakers. In 2000, the Coast Guard Cutter Healy, America’s newest and most technologically advanced polar icebreaker, came online. The three ships are expected to play a critical role in protecting United States’ interests in anticipation of a surge of global interest and activity in the Arctic.