Polar Security Cutters to Homeport in Seattle
Seattle has been chosen as the homeport for the U.S. Coast Guard’s first three new Polar Security Cutters.
The Coast Guard conducted a detailed analysis to identify locations that could accommodate the Polar Security Cutter and selected Seattle based on operational and logistical needs.
The Coast Guard is seeking to increase its icebreaking fleet with six new Polar Security Cutters in order to ensure continued national presence and access to the polar regions. In April 2019, VT Halter Marine was awarded a contract for the detail design and construction of the Coast Guard’s Polar Security Cutter class. Construction on the first ship is planned to begin in 2021 with delivery planned for 2024.
The initial award is valued at $745.9 million and supports engineering and detail design of the Polar Security Cutter class, as well as procurement of long lead-time materials and construction of the first ship. The contract also includes options for the construction of two additional PSCs. If all options are exercised, the total contract value is $1.9 billion.
Presently, the U.S. Coast Guard maintains two icebreakers – the Coast Guard Cutter Healy, which is a medium icebreaker, and the Polar Star, the United States’ only heavy icebreaker. If a catastrophic event, such as getting stuck in the ice, were to happen to the Healy in the Arctic or to the Polar Star near Antarctica, the U.S. Coast Guard is left without a self-rescue capability.
The Pacific Northwest has been the home of the U.S. Coast Guard's icebreaking fleet since 1976.