The Congressional Research Service issued a report entitled “Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress.” The report discusses the recent reactivation of Polar Star and plans for construction of a new heavy icebreaker.
With the reactivation of Polar Star in December 2012, the operational U.S. polar icebreaking fleet consists of one heavy polar icebreaker (Polar Star) and one medium polar icebreaker (Healey).
The Coast Guard’s proposed fiscal year 2013 budget requested $8 million in acquisition funding to initiate survey and design activities for a new polar icebreaker. Their fiscal 2014 budget requests $2 million to continue survey and design activities and anticipates awarding a construction contract for the ship “within the next four years.”
The new polar icebreaker would replace the Polar Star at about the time Polar Star‘s seven- to 10-year reactivation period ends.