US President Barack Obama is set to propose new measures to speed-up the acquisition and introduction of additional icebreakers in the Arctic.
With the change in climate and increase in marine traffic in the Arctic, unpredictable challenges are likely to pose significant risk to safe operations in the ocean.
The new icebreakers, which are in line with the priorities laid out in the 2013 national strategy for the Arctic Region, will ensure the US operate year-round in the Arctic Ocean.
Currently, the US Coast Guard (USCG) has three icebreakers in its fleet, while Russia has 40 icebreakers and another 11 planned or under construction.
In order to meet these challenges, the Obama Administration will propose to accelerate the acquisition of a replacement heavy icebreaker to 2020 from 2022.
Furthermore, it will also call for planning for construction of additional icebreakers, and urge Congress to work with the administration to provide sufficient resources to fund these critical investments.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the USCG are also working on enabling safe marine operations and transportation through mapping and charting.
According to a Reuters report, Huntington Ingalls industries and General Dynamics have shown interest in support of building new icebreakers.
Image: President Obama. Photo: courtesy of Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.