The Coast Guard Cutter Healy will be opened up for public tours this Thursday and Friday in Seward after 71 days of scientific research in the Arctic.
The Healy was moored in Seward last Friday morning, returning from operations in the Bering Sea, Chukchi Sea, Beaufort Sea and Arctic Ocean.
During their time at sea, the Healy’s crew conducted three missions. Two were purely scientific, as the crew collected samples, measured ocean temperatures, and studied a massive flood believed to have happened near the Mackenzie River that occurred about 13,000 years ago. They say the flood had profound effects on global climate and hope to learn more about the water composition thousands of years ago.
Their third mission was a test of oil spill response technology in the Arctic. The technologies included an unmanned aerial system, an unmanned underwater vehicle, an oil recovery skimmer, and a remotely operated vehicle. The crew used oranges and peat moss to simulate an oil spill and studied how the technologies responded.
The Healy has a fourth mission scheduled, which will study Arctic circulation using a series of bottom mounted scientific moorings.
The Healy was commissioned in 1999 and is the nation’s newest and largest high-latitude icebreaker.