Coast Guard Cutter Healy reaches North Pole

The Coast Guard vessel Healy is considered a medium icebreaker. Photo: USCG.
The Coast Guard vessel Healy is considered a medium icebreaker. Photo: USCG.

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy, based in Seattle, has arrived in the North Pole — becoming the first U.S. surface ship to make the trip unaccompanied.

Healy’s crew and science party left Dutch Harbor on Aug. 9 and arrived at the North Pole on Saturday.

According to a Coast Guard press release, Healy is the country’s newest high-latitude vessel. It’s a 420-foot, 16,000-ton, 30,000-horsepower icebreaker. It’s capable of breaking more than 10 feet of ice.

In addition to performing the Coast Guard’s mission of law enforcement and search and rescue, Healy is a research platform. It has laboratory spaces, oceanographic deck winches and berthing for 50 scientists.

The trip was funded by the National Science Foundation. Healy’s Geotraces mission is an international effort to study the world’s oceans.