Rex Tillerson: Coast Guard has one ‘crummy’ icebreaking ship–Washington Examiner

USCGC Polar Star. USCGC photo.

“I think we have one functioning icebreaker today,” Tillerson said at the Wilson Center. “The Coast Guard’s very proud of it, as crummy as it is.”

I am only posting this because of who said it.

Secretary Tillerson may not well informed about our icebreaker situation, but generally he got it right. This is a bad news, good news story.

Bad news, the Coast Guard was the butt of the joke.

Good news, at least someone in the Administration knows we need more icebreakers.

3 thoughts on “Rex Tillerson: Coast Guard has one ‘crummy’ icebreaking ship–Washington Examiner

  1. Another 5 years and $1B dollars before any new heavy icebreaker enters service. Should the USCG look at lighter icebreakers like the new French one (Astrolabe) which only cost $50 million? Good enough for resupply in Antartica, though cannot do ramming or break ice thicker >4ft.

    https://scontent-cdg2-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/24232515_1589399314416594_4651689161469312837_n.jpg?oh=1431a1b2f1ee06d22a11ef46f17e3cbe&oe=5A8BCD4D

    https://scontent-cdg2-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/23915906_1589399291083263_6774116396502197388_n.jpg?oh=cb211ca92acbaf519eab3b09e58c5951&oe=5AD48783

    • What would the USCG do with a vessel like the L’Astrolabe? Last time I checked, they were looking specifically for heavy polar icebreaking capability required to complete the McMurdo mission.

    • Firstly, I apologize for the short answers; I’m writing this with a phone.

      Icebreakers are tailored to the mission defined by their operator. This includes operational area, environmental conditions etc. The USCG probably (hopefully) has a pretty good idea of where they want to be able to go and what they want to be able to do there. Thus, you can’t just pick a foreign design and then start thinking about what they could do with it – you would end up losing money by buying something that doesn’t really meet your needs. A thousand Smarts is not enough if the job requires a pickup truck…

      Also, low ice class vessels have the risk of being labeled “slush breakers” – just look at the Canadian AOPS.

      Anyway, there will be a time when the USCG need something like that as well…

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