TABLE 10.3 International Polar Icebreaker Ownership, Operation, and Crewing

Country Icebreaker(s)

Ownership Structure

Operating Entity

Crew

Usage

Canada

Government

Canadian Coast Guard

Civilian government employees

Logistics, escort, research, national presence

Australia—AURORA AUSTRALIS

Private—P&O Polar; part-year charter to government

Private—P&O Polar; partial-year charter to government

Civilian P&O employees

Logistics, research

Japan—SHIRASE

Government

Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (MSDF)

Military—MSDF (Navy)

Research, logistics

Russia

Government

Private—FESCO, Murmansk Shipping Co.

Civilian—FESCO, Murmansk Shipping Co.

Logistics, escort, tourism

Sweden—ODEN

Government

Swedish Maritime Administration

Civilian government employees

Escort, research

Finland

Government

Finnish Maritime Administration

Civilian government employees

Escort, oil and gas service

Norway— SVALBARD

Government

Norwegian Navy/Coast Guard

Military—Navy

Patrol, national presence

Argentina— ALMIRANTE IRIZAR

Government

Argentine Navy

Military—Navy

Logistics, research, national presence

Germany— POLARSTERN

Government

Government—Alfred Wegener Institute

Civilian

Research, logistics

Netherlands—SMIT SAKHALIN, SMIT SEBU

Private

Private—Smit Internationale NV

Civilian—commercial

Oil service

U.S.—PALMER

Private—Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO)

Private—ECO; exclusive charter to U.S. Antarctic Program

Civilian—ECO employees

Research

U.S.—POLAR STAR, POLAR SEA, HEALY

Government

U. S. Coast Guard

Military—USCG

Logistics, escort, research, national presence

conducted one Arctic cruise). The Canadian, Russian, and Finnish fleets, and ODEN and SVALBARD, operate only in the Arctic, the exception being two Russian nonnuclear ice-breakers that conduct Antarctic tourist cruises and KRASIN’s logistics and escort deployments to McMurdo Sound in 2005 and 2006. The only icebreakers with regular operations in both polar regions are the U.S. polar fleet and POLARSTERN.

The other major basis for crewing—individual ship characteristics—also varies widely. In the United States, the modern icebreaker era began with World War II. Three generations of polar icebreaking ships have been developed in this country, beginning with the Wind class and GLACIER (1940s to 1954), the Polar class (early 1970s) and HEALY (2000). Each generation has been characterized by increases in ship size and complexity, increasingly sophisticated labor-saving technology, and steadily decreasing crew sizes. Less obviously, the operational effectiveness of individual ships has grown, permitting a substantial reduction in fleet size. U.S. polar icebreakers in service decreased from eight in the late 1960s to five once the polar class ships were fully operational.

The Wind class icebreakers and GLACIER featured crews of about 180 and 200, respectively, for postwar operations. Excluding training billets and marine science personnel, the far more capable Polar class vessels each have crews



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