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U.S. Coast Guard holds Arctic discussions in Boston aboard USCGC Healy (WAGB 20)

by U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area 20 Oct 2021 15:48 UTC
The USCGC Healy (WAGB 20) moors at the pier in Boston on Oct. 14, 2021 © U.S. Coast Guard / Petty Officer 3rd Class Briana Carter

The U.S. Coast Guard held an Arctic discussion roundtable aboard the USCGC Healy (WAGB 20) in Boston on Friday.

The event's purpose was to build relationships, identify areas for future collaboration, engage Arctic thinkers, and gain different perspectives on threats and opportunities pertinent to the Arctic. The group discussed topics ranging from science to Arctic governance.

U.S. Coast Guard Vice Adm. Steven Poulin, Atlantic Area commander, Rear Adm. Thomas Allan, 1st District commander, and Capt. Kenneth Boda, commanding officer of Healy, joined more than 20 professors, students, and Arctic leaders from multiple U.S. universities.

"The discussion here today is a valuable and necessary step toward continued effective cooperation and increased capability in the environmentally sensitive and dynamic Arctic region of the world. This session expands our shared network of knowledge and experience - building our relationships toward good Arctic governance and a collaborative approach to managing challenges," said Poulin.

The global importance of the Arctic continues to grow, particularly with shifting geopolitical, economic, and environmental challenges. Partnerships are crucial to designing solutions. Arctic engagements must be based on collaboration and partnerships with other federal agencies, academic institutions, and multinational partners.

The role of both the Coast Guard and the U.S. government in the Arctic will grow in the coming years as the region becomes more accessible to wide-ranging commercial activities, including shorter shipping routes and eco-tourism vessel traffic. As activity in the Arctic increases, so will demand on Coast Guard services.

Healy's deployment demonstrates the United States' commitment to ensuring a safe and secure Arctic. The cutter crew is deployed for four and a half months to conduct operational ice testing, strengthen relationships with partner nations, project U.S. presence, and protect U.S. sovereignty rights along the shared U.S.-Russia maritime boundary line. These efforts uphold the rule of law and deter threats to international maritime norms.

Based in Portsmouth, Virginia, U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area oversees all Coast Guard operations east of the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf. This area includes the Atlantic Arctic and participation in joint exercises, including Operation Nanook and Exercise Argus.

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