Senators work to rescue Polar Sea icebreaker

SEATTLE — After rescuing the Polar Sea icebreaker from the scrap heap, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell is working with Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska to get the icebreaker refurbished and returned to service with the Coast Guard.

The Seattle Times reported that Cantwell and Begich are introducing a bill to authorize the Coast Guard to overhaul the 1970s-era heavy-duty icebreaker.

Cantwell says the melting ice in the Arctic has opened up more opportunities for commercial and scientific exploration. She says the Polar Sea will help protect America’s interests in the Arctic.

The Coast Guard had planned to mothball the Polar Sea and raid it for parts for its sister ship, the Polar Star. The Polar Star is the nation’s only active heavy-duty icebreaker. A second vessel, the Healy, can break through thinner ice and is used mainly for research.

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