Coast Guard: Icebreaker Polar Sea Donates Spare Parts for Polar Star
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — One of the Coast Guard’s two 1970s-vintage heavy icebreakers will never return to duty, but parts of it will, a Coast Guard admiral said.
“We’re not going to reactivate Polar Sea,” Rear Adm. Bruce Baffer, said Feb. 15 during the American Society of Naval Engineers meeting.
Baffer said Polar Sea, berthed in Seattle, is sealed up and environmentally controlled for preservation, and is being used as a parts donor to keep its sister ship, Polar Star, in operation.
Polar Star, currently completing a deployment break ice for the annual resupply McMurdo Sound in Antarctica, will upon return to Seattle enter a maintenance availability during which its three shafts will be removed for reconditioning. In their place, the shafts from Polar Sea will be transferred to Polar Star to minimize the operational icebreaker’s time in maintenance.
Baffer said that rather than spending funds to keep Polar Sea operational, the service preferred to focus on its program to build new icebreakers. The Coast Guard has a requirement for three heavy icebreakers and three medium icebreakers.
He also said that although Polar Sea no longer is in operation nor has a crew, it remains on the Coast Guard list of commissioned cutters.