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Surface Navy 2023: Healy CO says deployment shows need for more icebreakers

US Coast Guard icebreaker Healy calls in Seward, Alaska, while embarking on North Pole deployment. (Michael Fabey)

Despite continued reports of receding ice in the Arctic, the recent deployment by the icebreaker US Coast Guard (USCG) Cutter Healy (WAGB-20) showed the necessity to build more icebreakers, Commanding Officer (CO) Captain Ken Boda told Janes ahead of the Surface Navy Association (SNA) annual symposium held from 10 to 12 January in Arlington, Virginia.

“The more times I go north, even with the changes, the more I'm convinced building icebreakers is the right thing to do,” Capt Boda said.

“There's a lot risk operating in the ice,” Capt Boda added. “With a vessel that's not properly hardened and strengthened for, it makes the risk untenable.”

The USCG is now building a fleet of Polar Security Cutters (PSCs), which will also serve as icebreakers. The Healy 2022 deployment to the North Pole underscored the need for them, Capt Boda said.

“There was plenty of ice,” he said. “It was really hard. We noticed multi-year ice.

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