U.S. Coast Guard chief optimistic about icebreaker ship funding

  • In US
  • 2018-12-06 23:51:05Z
  • By By Timothy Gardner
FILE PHOTO: Polar Star, the U.
FILE PHOTO: Polar Star, the U.  

By Timothy Gardner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States may soon get funding for a new heavy icebreaker ship, the head of the U.S. Coast Guard said on Thursday, as global warming spurs the race to stake out the Arctic, which is rich in oil, gas, and minerals.

The United States has two operational icebreakers - a heavy one, the Polar Star, which is more than 42 years old and has outlived its life expectancy by a dozen years, and a medium one, the Healy cutter.

By comparison, Russia has about 40 to 50 icebreakers, purpose-built vessels that can rescue other ships, supply bases, and reach oil spills in harsh polar conditions.

"I'm guardedly optimistic funding for that first polar security cutter is going to be there," Commandant Karl Schultz said at a National Press Club event.

Icebreakers support scientific missions and operate in the Arctic and Antarctic, which hold vast natural gas, oil, mineral, fish, and fresh water resources, Schultz said.

While Washington participates in several forums on Arctic security and cooperation, such as the Arctic Council, it also needs to ensure it has the necessary equipment, he said. China early this year declared itself a "Near Arctic State," outlined how it believed the region should be developed, and is expanding its icebreaker fleet.

"Diplomacy and cooperation are really hollow or shallow without presence," Schultz said, adding that the country needs a minimum of six icebreakers, which can cost about $1 billion each and take up to 10 years to build. "If we're not present, if we don't own the environment today, guess who owns it tomorrow - our competitors."

While President Donald Trump's administration has budgeted $750 million for an icebreaker, it is not certain whether the funding will survive in Congress, which is also looking for ways to fund the border wall with Mexico, among other items.

The Coast Guard is part of Homeland Security, one of several departments that have not been funded for the 2019 budget. Congress is expected to consider a $450 billion bill, before stopgap funding expires on Dec. 21, to fund the agencies through the fiscal year that ends next Sept. 30.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)


More Related News

Prepare for difficult times, China
Prepare for difficult times, China's Xi urges as trade war simmers

BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China must prepare for difficult times as the international situation is increasingly complex, President Xi Jinping said in comments carried by state media on Wednesday, as the U.S.-China trade war took a mounting toll on tech giant Huawei. The world's two largest

Half of American adults expect war with Iran
Half of American adults expect war with Iran 'within next few years': Reuters/Ipsos poll
  • US
  • 2019-05-21 18:32:29Z

While Americans are more concerned about Iran as a security threat to the United States now than they were last year, few would be in favor of a pre-emptive attack on the Iranian military. Historically tense relations between Washington and Tehran worsened in May after U.S. President Donald Trump hardened his anti-Iran stance and restored all sanctions on Iranian oil exports following his decision a year ago to pull the United States out of a 2015 international nuclear accord with Tehran.

U.S. garlic growers profit from trade war as most farmers struggle
U.S. garlic growers profit from trade war as most farmers struggle

Unlike millions of other U.S. farmers, garlic growers are profiting from the trade war with China and have cheered President Donald Trump's latest economic attack accordingly. Sales of California-grown garlic are now increasing after decades of losing ground to cheaper Chinese imports. Sales are

Oil rises on escalating U.S.-Iran tensions; trade war concerns weigh
Oil rises on escalating U.S.-Iran tensions; trade war concerns weigh

Oil prices edged up on Tuesday on escalating tensions between the United States and Iran and on signs that producer club OPEC will continue withholding supply this year. Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $72.03 per barrel at 0118 GMT, up 6 cents, or 0.1 percent, from their last close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up by 12 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $63.22 per barrel.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: US

Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.