US faces a shortage of ships for the Arctic

World Today

On Friday the U.S. assumes a two-year chairmanship of the eight-nation Arctic Council. This comes at a time of increased tensions with Russia. And melting in the Arctic is opening the region to unprecedented traffic – with new opportunities for oil drilling, commercial shipping and more.
CCTV America’s Chris Casquejo filed this report Seattle.

US faces a shortage of ships for the Arctic

US faces a shortage of ships for the Arctic

On Friday the U.S. assumes a two-year chairmanship of the eight-nation Arctic Council. This comes at a time of increased tensions with Russia. And melting in the Arctic is opening the region to unprecedented traffic - with new opportunities for oil drilling, commercial shipping and more.

Highlights: 

  •  More than 50 vessels were involved in accidents last year in the Arctic Circle, the largest number ever because more ships are navigating the waters. But the U.S. only has two working government icebreakers, the Polar Star and Healy, with the Healy primarily used for science expeditions. A third aging ship sits disabled in Seattle.
  • The price for a replacement icebreaker is $1 billion and fixing them would cost about half that.
  • The most recent U.S. government analysis called for six Arctic-capable icebreakers.