States Coast Guard has begun gearing up for another summer of incursions into
the high arctic. C-130 Hercules flights from Air Station Kodiak will resume
later this month, as part of Operation Arctic Domain Awareness, and will
continue about every two weeks through the fall.
Admiral Gene Brooks, commander of the Coast Guard's 17th District in
Juneau, says the missions have a Homeland Security aspect, determining what
risks certain vessels pose to the maritime community and infrastructure, the
arctic environment and Native villages.
Domain flights resume on March 17th.
missions will continue to test the Coast Guard's capabilities in the arctic
environment, survey sea ice and monitor vessel traffic.
discovered during last summer's initial Arctic Awareness flights, Brooks said,
was that pieces of ice about the size of a sedan were missed by Coast Guard
radar. While they pose no danger to icebreakers and other ice-strengthened
vessels, they present a significant hazard for other ships, including
non-icebreaker Coast Guard vessels. He said six ships were observed endangered
by late-summer sea ice west Barrow last year.
the surveillance flights spotted 20 commercial vessels transiting the Arctic
Ocean from Northwest Alaska to Western Arctic Canada, and saw 10 small personal
watercraft up to 90 miles from shore carrying hunting parties, but no personal
that because the C-130s have plenty of room on board, the flights often carry
scientists, other government representatives and, occasionally, the media.