The crew of the service’s most technologically advanced polar icebreaker, Coast Guard Cutter Healy, has been assisting Dr. Larry Mayer and his team from University of New Hampshire’s (UNH) National Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping with mapping the areas of the Arctic where the U.S. has potential rights to extend its continental shelf. The Healy crew acts as the backbone for groundbreaking science, providing presence and access throughout the Arctic to execute Coast Guard missions, project national sovereignty, and fulfill treaty obligations.
Coast Guard Cutter Healy’s mission has been devoted to service in Alaskan and Arctic waters since it first sailed. This summer, Healy’s crew and scientists from both the University of Alaska-Anchorage and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration made several ground-breaking discoveries while plying the frigid waters of the Arctic Chukchi Sea. Read more to find out how they helped improve knowledge and understanding of the rapidly changing region.
In July of 1957, the Coast Guard was tasked with establishing and charting a successful path through the Northwest Passage in response to defense concerns caused by Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union. In October, 1957, three Coast Guard cutters accomplished what no other U.S. vessels had done before — they transited through the icy seas of the Northwest Passage and circumnavigate the North American continent. Read the full story to learn more!
Success in the Arctic depends on unity of effort among Arctic nations. Why? Because no single nation has the sovereignty, capacity or control over all the resources necessary to meet the emerging challenges in the Arctic. While in Greenland, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft and Sen. Angus King met with the Joint Arctic Command, government dignitaries, leaders of indigenous communities and members of the scientific community to learn more about how our missions may change in this complicated operating environment.
Environmental changes in the polar regions are boosting new economic opportunities and transforming maritime activity in the regions. Access to previously unreachable natural resources is now possible and is encouraging new sovereignty claims by Arctic nations.
As the cruise ship Crystal Serenity and her 1,700 passengers and crew began her maiden northerly voyage from Alaska to New York this past week, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft and Arctic Caucus co-chairman Sen. Angus King held engagements in Greenland to personally observe and better understand the changes occurring in the Arctic.
Petty Officer Kenny Cook, a boatswain’s mate aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Healy, gives a first-hand account of life aboard the Coast Guard’s largest icebreaker.
Today, Coast Guard Vice Commandant Adm. Charles Michel appeared before the House Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee to discuss Coast Guard capabilities in the Arctic. During the hearing, the Vice Commandant highlighted the various operations the Coast Guard performs in the polar regions, including the protection of living and non-living marine resources, economic development, scientific research, pollution response, search and rescue and national defense.
U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft (right) and the heads of seven other Arctic nations’ coast guards sign a joint statement that establishes the frameworks that detail the development of a multi-year strategic plan, avenues to share information, highlight best practices, identify training exercises, and on-the-water combined operations to achieve safe, secure and environmentally-responsible maritime activity in the Arctic.
As the demand for resources increases, the eco-tourism industry expands and destination-focused and trans-Arctic shipping routes cross waters previously blockaded by sea ice, the Coast Guard must be ready to operate in the Arctic. The Coast Guard men and women serving in the Arctic today aboard platforms like the Coast Guard Cutter Healy, which recently completed a historic trip to the North Pole, do so with the same sense of professional pride and excellence that started with the Coast Guard Cutter Bear 150 years ago.