Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star steams under the aurora borealis during its current Arctic deployment patrolling the maritime boundary with Russia. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo / Petty Officer 1st Class Cynthia Oldham)

Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star steams under the aurora borealis during its current Arctic deployment patrolling the maritime boundary with Russia. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo / Petty Officer 1st Class Cynthia Oldham)

Coast Guard icebreaker continues Arctic training, security operations

The crew is honing the trade of operating in the harshest waters on earth.

The Coast Guard’s heavy icebreaker Polar Star continued operations in the Bering Sea along the maritime boundary with Russia, working closely with the Russian Border Guard, as part of its current deployment, the Coast Guard announced.

The exercise is a routine one, the Coast Guard said in a news release, intended to maintain security and order along the 1,700-mile long boundary line.

“The United States Coast Guard works diligently to maintain a unique cooperative relationship with the Russian Border Guard in an effort to enhance the protection of shared interests in and around the Arctic region,” said Capt. Jason Brennell, chief of enforcement for the Coast Guard’s Seventeenth District, in the news release. “The coordinated communications exercises on the high seas these past weeks with Polar Star demonstrate a recognition of the importance of that relationship.”

Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star crewmembers participate in ice rescue training in the Bering Strait on Jan. 28, 2021. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo / Petty Officer 1st Class Cynthia Oldham)

Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star crewmembers participate in ice rescue training in the Bering Strait on Jan. 28, 2021. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo / Petty Officer 1st Class Cynthia Oldham)

The icebreaker patrolled in concert with a Border Guard An-26 medium aircraft. The Coast Guard and Border Guard have a number of possible situations that call for joint operations, according to the Coast Guard, including search and rescue operations, pollution response and fisheries enforcement.

“The purpose of combined operations and communications exercises are to enforce rules and regulations, and protect the sovereign rights and economies of both countries,” the news release said. “The routine coordination maintains a strong working relationship and improves joint response capabilities for pollution, law enforcement, and search and rescue cases along our shared maritime border.”

Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star crewmembers participate in ice rescue training in the Bering Strait on Jan. 28, 2021. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo / Petty Officer 1st Class Cynthia Oldham)

Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star crewmembers participate in ice rescue training in the Bering Strait on Jan. 28, 2021. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo / Petty Officer 1st Class Cynthia Oldham)

The cutter USCGC Munro carried out a similar patrol with the Border Guard Purga-class patrol ship Kamchatka in July 2020, the news release said.

While in the ice, the crew of the Polar Star took advantage of the conditions to qualify as part of the icebreaker’s ice rescue team. Members of the ice rescue team survey and assess ice conditions to ensure the safety of crew and scientists working on the ice.

The Polar Star is bound for Juneau for a resupply stop and is expected to arrive within the next several weeks.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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