Feb. 23, 2021 —
The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star enjoys brief ice liberty on the frozen Bering Sea Jan. 30, 2021. The 45-year-old heavy icebreaker is wrapping up a months-long deployment to support national security objectives throughout Alaskan waters and into the Arctic, including along the maritime boundary line between the United States and Russia. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Cynthia Oldham.
The Coast Guard awarded a task order with a total value of $11.1 million Feb. 19 to execute Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star service life extension project (SLEP) activities under an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract with Mare Island Dry Dock LLC of Vallejo, California. The task order will cover annual maintenance of the cutter and support systems as well as SLEP work items including propulsion hub removal and reinstallations for all three propulsion shafts, boiler biennial maintenance and recapitalization of the starboard disconnect coupling on the main reduction gear. The Polar Star SLEP is part of the Coast Guard’s In-Service Vessel Sustainment program.
The Polar Star SLEP will recapitalize targeted systems such as the propulsion, communication and machinery control systems and conduct major maintenance to extend the cutter’s service life by four years. 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 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 missions in Antarctica will still be met.
Work under this task order will begin later this year. The Polar Star is completing a historic mission this winter to support national security objectives in the Arctic. The 399-foot cutter, commissioned in 1976 and the nation’s only active heavy icebreaker, supports nine of the 11 Coast Guard statutory missions.
The Coast Guard is also investing in a new fleet of polar security cutters (PSCs) that will sustain the service’s capabilities to meet mission needs in the Arctic and the Antarctic. 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