A news release. Dec. 20 is a very short deadline.
The Coast Guard released a request for information (RFI) Nov. 27 seeking industry input and feedback on the draft solicitation for the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star service life extension project (SLEP) as part of the In-Service Vessel Sustainment program (ISVS). The SLEP effort will recapitalize a number of major systems and extend the service life of the cutter by approximately four years. This future contract will include SLEP work items and recurring maintenance in a five-year phased production schedule between 2021 and 2025.
The RFI is available here. The deadline to submit responses is Dec. 20 at 4 p.m. EST.
Polar Star, the Coast Guard’s only active heavy icebreaker, is scheduled to conduct ice breaking operations to create an ice channel for which cargo vessels will be escorted to resupply the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station in Antarctica. This marks the seventh time the cutter has been at the center of Operation Deep Freeze since the cutter was reactivated in 2013.
The 399-foot cutter – commissioned in 1976 – supports nine of the 11 Coast Guard statutory missions.
For more information: In-Service Vessel Sustainment program page
Until the Polar Security Cutters enter service, I suppose there’s not much to do but retrofit the 43-year old Polar Star. Problem is, no one knows how much “life” is left in the hull or the engines. One can only hope that it can last that long.
The Polar Star does seem to be in rough shape with rust and outdated equipment. During Operation Deep Freeze 2018, huge waves crashed onto deck and rained through leaks into the kitchen, shorting out cooking equipment. The crew was forced to eat cold sandwiches for days. One really has to give the Polar Star’s crew credit for their patience and endurance.
The Polar Star’s crew is getting very little time in homeport. After Deep Freeze, they go into an extended refit every year, and it has been in Vallejo, CA, the last few years. It leaves very little time back in Seattle.
The hull itself is probably in pretty good shape. The hull of the Polar Star was found to be in good shape, but everything else that has not been replaced is getting really old.
But she is still not as old as most of our WMECs.
The bid process is a long one with few contractors willing to submit bids to fix the equipment, hence the bids are constantly reposted, extended the time for repairs. That is what is taking so long, and the fact that more problem discoveries are identified as the repair workers tear the icebreaker apart to fix certain areas.
I find it interesting because the few interior shots of the Polar Star show massive amounts of rust, stark brown against the white paint. I would assume that the crew can repaint over the sections, but that would probably require a spray gun compared to rollers and brush. It’s the seawater and salt air that is corroding the Polar Star to the point where I wonder if she is structurally sound inside.
Ostensibly, the USCG doesn’t talk about the Polar Star that much and I can understand why as it doesn’t present the USCG in the best light and best face. After all, it is 43+ years old.
Saw this thought you would be interested.
Now THAT is interesting…leading the assault line with a bulletproof armor plate at the front. That is the first time I’ve ever seen soldiers use such a method.
Pingback: Tidbits from the FY2021 Budget | Chuck Hill's CG Blog