The Coast Guard is sending the aging cutter Polar Star, the service’s only heavy icebreaker, on an unprecedented deployment to the Arctic. Typically, Polar Star spends this time of year making the resupply voyage to McMurdo Station in Antarctica operated by the National Science Foundation. In announcing the change, service leadership cited as a reason the increasing strategic importance of the Arctic region.
“The Arctic is no longer an emerging frontier, but is instead a region of growing national importance. The Coast Guard is committed to protecting U.S. sovereignty and working with our partners to uphold a safe, secure and rules-based Arctic,” said Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, commander of the Coast Guard’s Pacific area of operations.
The resupply of McMurdo Station will be conducted by air this year. It was suspended due to concerns about spreading COVID-19. The Coast Guard anticipates resumption of delivery by Polar Star by next year.