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U.S. Coast Guard Historic Documents


COAST GUARD ICE OPERATIONS:



SUMMARY OF STATUTORY AND OTHER AUTHORITY

14 U.S.C. 2: "The Coast Guard shall develop, maintain, and operate with due regard to the requirements of national defense, aids to navigation, icebreaking facilities, and rescue facilities for the promotion of safety on and over the high seas and waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; and pursuant to international agreements, operate icebreaking facilities on waters other than high seas and waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States." Specifies one of the duties of the Coast Guard is to engage in oceanographic research.

14 U.S.C. 93: Authorizes the Coast Guard to maintain icebreaking facilities. Generally authorizes the Coast Guard to conduct experiments and investigations to assist in the performance of its duties, and to establish shore facilities.

14 U.S.C. 141: Authorizes the Coast Guard to utilize its personnel and facilities to assist, among others, federal and state agencies. Under this authority the Coast Guard provides icebreaking services to user agencies such as the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, and the Maritime Administration; conducts icebreaking in harbors and channels to relieve flooding conditions.

49 U.S.C. 101: Establishes as National Transportation policy, the facilitation of commerce.

15 U.S.C. 4101: "The United States has important security, economic, and environmental interests in developing and maintaining a fleet of icebreaking vessels capable of operating effectively in the heavy ice regions of the Arctic.

15 U.S.C. 4109(b)(2): "The Office of Management and Budget shall seek to facilitate planning for the design, procurement, maintenance, deployment, and operations of icebreakers needed to provide a platform for Arctic research by allocating all funds necessary to support icebreaking operations, except for recurring funds associated with specific projects, to the Coast Guard."

16 U.S.C. 2431(a)(6): "The United States has important security, economic, and environmental interests in developing and maintaining a fleet of icebreaking vessels capable of operating effectively in the heavy ice regions of the Antarctic."

16 U.S.C. 2441(c): "Icebreaking.-The Department of Transportation shall facilitate planning for the design, procurement, maintenance, deployment, and operations of icebreakers needed to provide a platform for Antarctic research. All funds necessary to support icebreaking operations, except for recurring funds associated with specific projects, shall be allocated to the United States Coast Guard."

Revised Memorandum of Agreement Between the Department of the Navy and the Department of the Treasury on the Operation of Icebreakers (1965): Directs the Coast Guard to provide icebreaking services to meet the reasonable demands of commerce in United States ports, harbors, and inland waterways.

Presidential Memorandum on U.S. Antarctic Policy and Programs (number 6646 dated 5 February 1982): Directs the Department of Transportation to provide on a reimbursable basis, the logistic support for the National Science Foundation's Antarctic program.

Executive Order 7521 (1936): Directs the Coast Guard to undertake icebreaking operations for harbors and channels, within the reasonable demands of commerce.

 

ICE OPERATIONS PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

 

Section I. Program Statement.

The purpose of the Ice Operations Program (IO) is to provide the United States the capability and resources necessary to carry out and support national interests in the polar regions, to facilitate the movement of maritime transportation (commerce) through ice laden domestic waters, to carry out the International Ice Patrol, and to assist other governmental and scientific organizations in the pursuit of marine science activities. The Ice Operations Program supports the performance of other Coast Guard programs in waters constrained by ice.

Contingency preparedness responsibilities of the IO Program are to provide logistics and general support in the polar regions and ice covered domestic waters. At time of war or national emergency, the IO Program's resources continue their peacetime activities with slight change in emphasis.

 

Polar Operations.

As declared in a variety of legislation and presidential decision documents, the U.S. has significant economic, environmental, and security interests in the polar regions. Federal responsibility for promoting these interests has been assigned to the various agencies per their normal mandates. In a like manner, responsibility for developing and maintaining a fleet of icebreaking vessels capable of operating effectively in the heavy ice regions of the Arctic and Antarctic has been assigned to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard has been the sole U.S. operator of heavy icebreakers since the Navy's icebreakers were transferred to the Coast Guard in 1965. Because the Coast Guard required icebreakers to accomplish its own missions and would transfer to the Navy during time of war, this consolidation of icebreaking assets provided the management efficiencies and flexibility of a unified fleet. The (1990)President's Report on Polar Icebreaker Requirements has indicated a national need for three polar icebreakers operated by the Coast Guard plus one ice capable research vessel leased by the National Science Foundation.

Since FY 1983, the polar icebreakers have been funded under a variety of user reimbursement schemes. Currently, users pay a standard rate for transits, actual fuel consumed within the operating area, and two daily surcharges for vessel and helicopter maintenance. User reimbursement was imposed upon the Coast Guard to moderate potentially unlimited user requests for icebreakers, but uncertainties in user funding have led to inefficiencies. If a user drops a project, the other users must assume an additional share of the costs if the mission is to proceed or they must also drop out. As a result, missions may be cancelled with too little notice to schedule effective training or maintenance, and the vessel sits idle.

 

Domestic Ice Operations.

Domestic icebreaking is normally conducted for search and rescue and other emergency situations, prevention of flooding caused by ice, and facilitation of navigation for commerce.

The first of these reasons relates to the Coast Guard's statutory responsibility to carry out "traditional" Coast Guard missions (search and rescue, law enforcement, aids to navigation, etc.). These responsibilities do not cease when waters are covered by ice. The domestic icebreaker fleet provides the means to carry out these responsibilities in those U.S. waters that are covered with seasonal ice. The regions that are normally affected by ice formation are the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway, the northeast U.S. coast and Alaska.

The second reason is related to other Coast Guard measures to preserve lives and property. Icebreaking is done to alleviate flooding due to ice accumulation in rivers. Flood relief icebreaking may be conducted under the Coast Guard's broad authority to aid distressed persons and property, or in response to requests by federal, state, or local government agencies. This support of other agencies is provided in consultation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers which has federal responsibility for flood control.

Finally, by Executive Order, the Coast Guard has been directed to assist in keeping open to navigation, in so far as practicable, channels and harbors per the reasonable demands of commerce. During peacetime, this form of icebreaking is done primarily to ensure a regular navigation season on the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway, and the northeast U.S. coast and to ensure commercial fishing fleets can enter and leave icebound ports. During a war effort, however, this icebreaking practice serves a critical need to maintain marine transportation systems for strategic material movement.

 

International Ice Patrol.

The Coast Guard has conducted the International Ice Patrol (IIP) since 1913 in order to detect icebergs in North Atlantic shipping lanes and warn shipping accordingly. The International Ice Patrol is funded by 19 signatory nations in proportion to their vessel tonnage transiting the area during the ice season. Since the establishment of the Ice Patrol there have been no vessels lost by icebergs within the patrol area. The status of IIP during periods of national emergency has not yet been determined, but during the

two World Wars, Ice Patrol operations were suspended.

The International Ice Patrol uses long range aircraft equipped with Side-Looking Airborne Radar (SLAR) and Forward Looking Airborne Radar (FLAR/ISAR) to detect icebergs and determine the limits of all known ice in the patrol region. A computer drift and deterioration model is used to predict future iceberg positions which are validated by later reconnaissance flights. The model requires data on current, winds, waves and sea surface temperatures from the Fleet Numerical Oceanographic Center (FNOC) and satellite-tracked drift buoys.

 

Marine Science.

Marine science work is performed in support of other Coast Guard programs (e.g. SAR object drift model, oil spill trajectory model, etc). From time to time special projects in direct support of Coast Guard objectives are undertaken (e.g. operational testing of remote sensing systems).

Cooperative marine science projects are conducted on a resource available, not to interfere basis. This activity is comprised mainly of providing routine weather and oceanographic data (sounding, bathythermographic, and ice observations) to other agencies.

 

Section II: Program Resources.

The Ice Operations Program utilizes the following facilities and personnel to accomplish its mission.

 

 

Polar Operations

USCGC POLAR STAR (WAGB 10): 15 officers, 124 enlisted

USCGC POLAR SEA (WAGB 11): 15 officers, 124 enlisted

AVTRACEN Mobile Polar Operations Division: 9 officers, 25 enlisted

4 HH-65s + 2 HSKs

 

 

Domestic Ice Operations

USCGC MACKINAW (WAGB 83): 8 officers, 66 enlisted

Nine 140' Icebreaking Tugs (WTGB):

3 officers, 14 enlisted (each)

Fourteen 65' Small Harbor Tugs (WYTL):

6 enlisted (each)

 

 

 

 

International Ice Patrol

International Ice Patrol : 4 officer, 10 enlisted, 2 civilian

 

Staff Elements

The following staff elements support/coordinate the Ice Operations Program.

Icebreaking Division (G-OPN-1):

1 officer, 1 enlisted, 1 civilian

Ice Operations Section, PACAREA(Pof-3):

1 officer, 1 civilian

 

 

Polar Icebreaker Support Elements

NESU Seattle: 31 enlisted

SUPCEN Seattle: 2 enlisted

ESU Seattle: 2 enlisted

 

 

WTGB Support Elements

MRD Sault Ste. Marie: 6 enlisted

 

Section III: Program Objectives/Program Standards

Polar Operations.

OBJECTIVE #1: To support U.S. objectives in the polar regions by providing the icebreaker operating time and capabilities required by the Coast Guard and user agencies in polar regions.

This objective is selected as the Coast Guard's long-term first priority because Coast Guard icebreakers are the only national icebreaking resources which can reliably accomplish national objectives in the polar regions. Polar icebreakers perform the following to support these national objectives:

--Provide platforms for scientific research in the Arctic and Antarctic

--Perform logistical and supply activities in the Arctic and Antarctic

--Provide support for resource exploration, shipping demonstration projects, and

research, development and testing projects in the Arctic

--Perform military missions in the Arctic.

--Support diplomatic missions related to U.S. strategic interests.

--Coordinate an international exchange of information on ice operations

PROGRAM STANDARD: The program standard to meet this objective is to maximize utilization of each ship in polar regions up to 144 days per year to meet user demands.

 

 

Domestic Ice Operations

OBJECTIVE #2: To provide the icebreaker resources and capabilities required to perform traditional Coast Guard missions, to facilitate navigation on seasonally ice-covered domestic waters and to prevent flooding caused by ice jams.

The CGC MACKINAW, WTGBs and WYTLs perform the following to support this objective:

--Perform Coast Guard missions on the Great Lakes, the U.S. portion of the St.

Lawrence Seaway, and the northeast U.S. coast (under Canadian/U.S. agreement,

U.S. can also operate in Canadian waters).

--Directly assist commercial vessels transiting ice bound waters

--Perform preventative icebreaking.

--Collect and disseminate ice information.

--Assist the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in relieving flood conditions resulting form ice

on domestic waters.

PROGRAM STANDARDS: The program standard is to have sufficient icebreaking resources available to facilitate commercial vessel transits by (a) maximizing vessel utilization for each class of icebreaking cutter, (b) minimizing commercial vessel transit times through ice covered waters, and (c) respond to all icebreaking requests to assist vessels or to prevent flooding.

 

 

International Ice Patrol.

OBJECTIVE #3: Provide mariners in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean with information on the limits of known icebergs to facilitate safe navigation.

The International Ice Patrol performs/coordinates the following to support this objective:

--Conduct reconnaissance flights to locate and track icebergs that may become a

hazard to navigation and to identify the limits of known icebergs.

--Obtain environmental data on iceberg drift and deterioration to predict future iceberg

positions.

--Disseminate information on the location and drift of icebergs to mariners crossing the

Northwest Atlantic.

PROGRAM STANDARD. The program standard is to accurately define the limits of all known ice and provide current information to mariners.

 

 

Marine Science.

OBJECTIVE #4: To conduct marine science in support of Coast Guard missions and in cooperation with other agencies.

All operating resource perform the following activities to support this objective:

--Conduct marine science to support Coast Guard operating programs.

--Provide logistic support for marine science related research and development projects.

--Conduct marine science in cooperation with other agencies.

--Support for national security.

PROGRAM STANDARD. The standard of this objective is to provide marine science support to other Coast Guard units and mission areas.

 

 

Section IV: Performance Measures


Objective #1: To support U.S. objectives in the polar regions by providing the icebreaker operating time and capabilities required by the Coast Guard and user agencies in polar regions.

MEASURE OF EFFECTIVENESS:

1. Meeting customer demand (%) = Polar days requested

Polar days available

2. Fleet utilization (%) = Total Polar-days

144 days per ship


3. Customer satisfaction: User post-deployment reports

Reasons for MOE selection: While the activities under this goal produce some tangible and measurable outputs, there is no single measure which defines, in quantitative terms, the total benefit derived. Many of the activities produce benefits that cannot be quantitatively measured such as the benefits of demonstrating national presence and sovereignty in the Arctic. In general a polar-day is defined as 24 hours in the polar regions plus any necessary transit time. For any system to provide a polar-day it must be able to perform simultaneously or serially, the following activities:

- Provide sustained all-weather support for multidisciplinary scientific research and systems development projects in the polar regions; this includes transporting the science parties and their equipment to and form the polar regions;

- Exercise national sovereignty and demonstrate national presence;

- Provide an immediate and sustained response in the polar regions to maritime casualties, fires (including offshore facilities), maritime searches, maritime law enforcement, marine environmental emergencies; and remain on scene for a period of several weeks in an all-weather environment;

- Provide a means of transporting 100s of tons of dry cargo or 100,000s of gallons of petroleum products to stations when the servicing ports and waterways are covered or clogged with sea ice;

- Conduct sustained military communications, command and control, intelligence, medical support, and provide general support to military operations on a round-the clock all-weather basis;

- Provide reasonable mobility.

The Presidential Report on Polar Icebreaker Requirements stated that 586 polar days should be obtained using 3 Coast Guard icebreakers and one NSF research vessel. This translates to 144 polar days per polar icebreaker out of 185 cutter utilization days.

 

OBJECTIVE #2: To provide the icebreaker resources and capabilities required to perform traditional Coast Guard missions on seasonally ice-covered domestic waters and to prevent flooding caused by ice jams.

 

MEASURE OF EFFECTIVENESS:

1. Fleet utilization (%) = Operating Time (days or hours)

Cutter class standard (days or hours)

2. User transit times (%) = Actual transit time (seasonal)

Average transit time (annual)

3. Assistance response time = Average time to arrive on scene when requested/directed to provide icebreaking for SAR, vessel assistance or to clear ice jams.

 

Reasons for MOE selections: Fleet utilization will indicate how vessels are being utilized both for domestic icebreaking and for other missions. User transit times will indicate the effectiveness of the domestic icebreaking program by measuring the principal benefit, navigation during the ice season, derived by the primary customers. Assistance response time will indicate if adequate resources are available for the program.


OBJECTIVE #3: Provide mariners in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean with information on the limits of known icebergs.

 

MEASURE OF EFFECTIVENESS:

1. Iceberg limit accuracy(%) = Icebergs reported beyond limits

Total icebergs tracked each season

Reasons for MOE selection: The measure used in the past was to indicate the numbers of vessels damaged by ice per transit through the Northwest Atlantic. This traditional measure did not indicate the effectiveness of the International Ice Patrol and the information disseminated. Using the number of icebergs reported outside the defined limits of known ice will allow meaningful comparison between light and heavy ice years and between seasons where patrol resources may vary.


OBJECTIVE #4: To conduct marine science to support Coast Guard operating programs and in cooperation with other agencies.

MEASURE OF EFFECTIVENESS: None

Reasons for MOE selection: Benefits of conducting marine science are not directly quantifiable. Since the activities under this goal are pursued in support of the objectives of other programs and federal agencies, no direct benefit is easily identifiable. Coast Guard efforts in marine science provide important data that benefit other federal programs. (e.g. Coastal meteorological data provided to the National Weather Service (NWS) is used in weather forecasting. Loss of the Coast Guard data would leave large gaps in the NWS data collection system and hamper their forecasting efforts.) Being a small part of a data collection infrastructure, the marginal benefits are difficult identify. Most Coast Guard marine science activities require little additional effort on the Coast Guard's part but would be costly to duplicate. (e.g. additional data buoys to replace weather observations collected in the course of CG operations.)

Section V: Additional Information.

The Ice Operations Program provides a service based on the domestic and global needs of federal research agencies, economic activities (commercial, fishing, resource exploitation), and national security in ice covered waters and domestic needs for national meteorological forecasting. As a service, our measures of effectiveness will be more directly relate to customer satisfaction than a numerical relationship. However, the level of effort to provide a satisfactory mission accomplishment will remain dependent on ice and weather conditions for all mission areas.

In polar operations, customer satisfaction is based on availability, reimbursement cost, capabilities, outfit and task accomplishment during a science cruise or logistic support mission. Actual use of the icebreakers may be an effective measure, although discussions with the National Science Foundation, the primary research agency, indicates science-man days are also an important measure. To maintain our effectiveness, we must remain attractive as a resource polar days must be available, costs should be competitive, capabilities and outfit should match world-class standards and mission accomplishment should reach all reasonable goals.

Domestic ice operations measures of effectiveness may include minimizing transit delays due to channel restrictions and the amount of cargo moved during the ice season. Again, the customers (LCA, shipping companies, Northeast fisherman) will dictate how effective Coast Guard efforts are in domestic icebreaking and their input will determine appropriate measures of effectiveness.

Marine Science Activities measures of effectiveness will include the value of information accepted for meteorological modeling and the level of support and response for support to weather buoy maintenance, research and development activities and other related efforts.


Last Modified 11/17/2014