After 17,000 nautical miles and 124 days at sea, the crew members of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Healy came back to its homeport in Seattle, the agency announced Nov. 11.
The crew’s journey was considered a historic one as the 420-foot medium icebreaker traveled in high Arctic latitudes and reached the geographic North Pole Sept 30, “only the second time a U.S. surface vessel had reached 90 degrees north unaccompanied,” the USCG said.
The crew also provided law enforcement presence in the Arctic and the Gulf of Alaska.
“It is more important than ever before to provide security and sovereign presence in the Arctic and expand oceanographic research to understand the impacts of environmental change,” said Healy’s commanding officer, Capt. Kenneth Boda. “The crew of Healy is proud to have completed this mission to the North Pole and back, advancing American interests across the Arctic Ocean.”
Over the summer, the crew also helped a team sponsored by the Office of Naval Research from the University of Washington Applied Physics Department and the Massachusetts-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
“The embarked team worked with Healy crew to conduct various evolutions, including deploying and recovering sea gliders, underwater sensors and acoustic buoys throughout the marginal and pack ice zones as part of the Arctic Mobile Observing System,” the Coast Guard explained.