The U.S. Coast Guard released a formal request for information seeking to identify U.S.-built commercial icebreakers that might be available for purchase. With promises of funding from the Biden Administration and the U.S. Congress, the Department of Homeland Security published on May 3, the request for information as the first step in the possible purchase of a vessel to bridge the gap until the newly built polar security cutters, which are behind schedule, are commissioned and available for service late this decade.
We knew there would be such an attempt to find an available icebreaker, but look at the specs.
“…USCG is now seeking to identify commercial vessels that are available for purchase in 2023 or 2024. To meet the request the vessels must not only have been built in a U.S. shipyard but must have PC3 or higher classification and the capability of breaking at least three feet of ice ahead at a continuous speed of three knots. Further, it must have at least 15 years of original design service life remaining and be capable of operations for a minimum of 60 days without resupply. Other specifications include a maximum draft of 29 feet and a landing area of Coast Guard helicopters.”
There cannot be many, there may be only one, there may be none.
If we do find such a vessel, it will probably take some work to bring it up to Coast Guard standards for communications and helicopter operations.
If nothing else, it might fill the perceived need for a second Great Lakes Icebreaker.
Thanks to Paul for bring this to my attention.