The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy reached the the North Pole on Sept. 27, 2022, the third time the icebreaker has gone the distance since its commissioning in 1999. It’s the second time a U.S. ship has reached the location unaccompanied, the first being the Healy in 2015.
Healy is the United States’ largest and most technologically advanced icebreaker and is the US Coast Guard’s largest vessel, at 420 feet. It departed Dutch Harbor on Sept. 4 for its journey to 90 degrees latitude. The cutter and crew supported oceanographic research in collaboration with National Science Foundation-funded scientists throughout the journey to the North Pole. Home-ported in Seattle, the cutter has nearly three dozen scientists and technicians on board and staff on board in addition to 100 crew members.
During the cutter’s first Arctic leg of the patrol throughout July and August, the ship traveled to the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, going as far north as 78 degrees. As a part of the Office of Naval Research’s Arctic Mobile Observing System program, Healy deployed underwater sensors, sea gliders and acoustic buoys to study Arctic hydrodynamics in the marginal and pack ice zones, the Coast Guard reported.
“In addition to enabling Arctic science, Healy also supported U.S. national security objectives for the Arctic region by projecting a persistent ice-capable U.S. presence in U.S. Arctic waters, and patrolling our maritime border with Russia,” the agency said. The ship also spent some of the summer patrolling the water border between the U.S. and Russia.
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary photo by Deborah Heldt Cordone.