“Coast Guard awards Polar Star service life extension contract” –CG-9

As with previous Dry Docks, the three pitch propellers were removed, overhauled, and reinstalled. Photo: Official USCG Polar Star Facebook

The Acquisitions Directorate published the announcement below. This will guarantee that the crew of Polar Star will continue to spend much of their inport time for the next five years, away from their homeport. Again, perhaps it is time to change her homeport. The SLEP will extend from 2021 to 2025 and the ship will likely be decommissioned by the end of 2027. 


The Coast Guard today awarded an indefinite quantity, indefinite delivery contract to Mare Island Dry Dock LLC of Vallejo, California, for the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star service life extension project (SLEP), as part of the In-Service Vessel Sustainment program. The project will recapitalize a number of major systems and extend the service life of the cutter by approximately four years, helping maintain the Coast Guard’s required heavy icebreaking capability while the service transitions heavy icebreaking operations to the new polar security cutter (PSC). The total potential value of all resulting orders is $119.6 million.

The Polar Star SLEP will address targeted systems such as propulsion, communication and machinery control systems for recapitalization and conduct major maintenance to extend the service life of Polar Star beyond the original design service life. By replacing obsolete, unsupportable or maintenance-intensive equipment, the Coast Guard will mitigate the risk of lost operational days due to unplanned maintenance or system failures. The contracted SLEP work items and recurring maintenance will take place within a five-year, annually phased production schedule running from 2021 through 2025. Each phase will be coordinated so that operational commitments such as Operation Deep Freeze will still be met.

Polar Star is the Coast Guard’s only active heavy icebreaker. The 399-foot cutter, commissioned in 1976, supports nine of the 11 Coast Guard statutory missions. The first PSC, currently under design, is on contract for delivery in 2024.

For more information: In-Service Vessel Sustainment program page and Polar Security Cutter program page

6 thoughts on ““Coast Guard awards Polar Star service life extension contract” –CG-9

      • I don’t know…it could also be because California has better weather and doesn’t rain as much compared to Seattle, not to mention that the temperatures are better here for faster work at the most cost-effective prices.

        In truth, the USCG studied the Polar Star and has no idea how long this heavy icebreaker’s hull will last. Built of exotic high-strength steel, the USCG believes that the hull still has a lot of life left in it. It’s the engines and their smoke emissions that is causing the Coast Guard to have to retire the Polar Star due to Antarctic environmental atmosphere reasons.

      • Also, the Polar Star’s $119.6 million SLEP cost makes sense because each Annual Dry-Dock after Operation Deep Freeze cost anywhere between $15-$18 million USD depending on the number and complexities of repairs required, the USCG told me. And that is just for specific icebreaker systems inspection and shaft maintenance. So a four-year Dry-Docking of $60 million for four years doesn’t include icebreaker obsolete system replacement whereas the additional $60M does.

  1. As of 10 November 2020, the first piece of metal for the “Keel Laying Ceremony” for the Polar Security Cutter has yet to be cut, because delay of New Lincoln Electric “PythonX” Plasma Cutter ordered by VT Halter Marine…

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