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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Dec. 7, 2020

Heavy metal: It took a crane, a barge and a 23-year-old motor, but Healy will return to the Arctic

By Christie St. Clair

Check out this video of the Healy getting patched up.

The Coast Guard Cutter Healy is the Coast Guard's largest vessel, and its most technologically advanced ocean-going icebreaker, or Polar Security Cutter.

She suffered a fire in the starboard main propulsion motor while deployed to the Arctic in August. 

Healy was taken to dry dock in Vallejo, Calif., for repair. The crew quickly learned the motor would have to be replaced.

Fortunately, we had a spare. A 100-ton motor had been sitting in storage at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore for 23 years, thanks to the foresight of the Healy's original acquisition team. 

Coast Guard members craned the motor onto a barge, which then traveled 6,200 miles through the Panama Canal and then on to Northern California. The trip lasted almost two months.

The installation crew had to remove a section of Healy's hull in order to swap out the motors. The complex rebuild will take about six weeks. 

Next up for the Healy? She and her crew will head back to the Arctic region this summer, to help the National Science Foundation conduct vital scientific research. 

BZ to the Surface Forces Logistics Center Long Range Enforcer Product Line and Asset Logistics Division, the Coast Guard Yard, and the Healy crew for a job well done.


  • Follow CGC Healy on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Read about some of the Healy's Arctic missions
  • Watch the Vice Commandant's Dec. 8, 2020 Congressional hearing, "USCG Capabilities for Safeguarding National Interests and Promoting Economic Security in the Arctic." (The hearing begins at 2:30 p.m. EST Dec. 8. The video will be available for future viewing, if you aren't able to watch live.)