Senators Come Up W. New Strategy For 2 Remaining US Heavy Icebreakers; Hold Off Scrapping Until 2013
Plans to scrap one of the nation's two heavy icebreaker ships, the Seattle-based Polar Sea, have been put off for at least this year, according to U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell's office.
As early as Monday, the Coast Guard was ready to have propellers and other core components ripped off the ship to sell or to use on the nation's only other heavy icebreaker, the Polar Star, which is being refurbished at Harbor Island.
Cantwell was unsuccessful last year in efforts to snag congressional funding for the $30 million to $50 million needed to repair the decommissioned Polar Sea's engine, which made it difficult for the Coast Guard to justify the cost of keeping the ship.
But after a Wednesday meeting between lawmakers including Cantwell and Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, and the Coast Guard's top official, Adm. Robert J. Papp, Jr., the Coast Guard agreed not to dismantle the ship while other strategies for funding are pursued.