US Naval Institute News Service reports Polar Star will deploy to the Arctic in December. We knew this was coming, but we have been short of details of when and for how long. This at least indicates it will begin in December. (I will speculate, she will be gone about three months, returning in March to provide a little inport time before going into the yard.)
There seem to be a couple of errors in the story.
“For the first time in almost five decades, the Coast Guard’s heavy icebreaker won’t be supporting Antarctic scientific missions in coming months…”
Coast Guard heavy icebreaker support has not been continuous over that period, at least once, and I believe more than once, the McMurdo break-in was done by non-Coast Guard icebreakers, either contracted foreign icebreakers or the National Science Foundation’s own smaller icebreaker.
“This would be the first Coast Guard operation in the Arctic Ocean since August 1994 when a now-deactivated heavy icebreaker with a Canadian Coast Guard heavy icebreaker reached the North Pole.”
This seems to be missing a qualifier. The Coast Guard has certainly operated in the Arctic since August 1994. There is better information on Polar class operations in the Arctic here, in a Military.com report.
“It will be the first deployment of a U.S. Polar-class icebreaker to the Arctic on a non-science mission (emphasis applied–Chuck) since August 1994, when the heavy icebreaker Polar Sea, now inactive, became one of the first two American surface ships to reach the North Pole.
“In 1998, Polar Star spent three months in the region on a science mission. And in 2009, the Polar Sea conducted a three-month Arctic deployment, also dedicated solely to science.”